From Big Medical Encyclopedia

PARACELSUS [Paracelsus; a real name Philip Aureol Teofrast Eombast von Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Boinbastus von Hohenheim, 1493 — 1541] — the doctor and the chemist, one of the most visible representatives of culture of the early Renaissance.


Was born in Switzerland, in a family of the doctor. Got an education in un-those in Ferrara (Italy). In addition to influence of teachers-physicians, in youth came under considerable influence of medieval mysticism, on the one hand, and humanist writers — representatives of culture of the early Renaissance — with another. Was involved in peasant war (1524 — 1525) in Germany. Was an innovator in teaching: gave lectures in German instead of Latin. He premised to a course of the lectures the program, in a cut declared that he is going not to comment ancient, and to explain the nature, to bring up not eloquent doctors, but doctors able to treat: «Not the title, not oratory, not reading books create the doctor, but only knowledge of things and forces of nature». Paracelsus fought against abuses and money-making of druggists and related doctors and the city authorities of Basel. Forced to flee in 1528 Basel where consisted the city doctor and professor un-that, often changed the residence. Traveling around the different countries (including around Poland and Lithuania) and carefully getting acquainted with local traditional medicine, insisted on its use instead of following to «thick books and ancient authorities». Convicted traditions of scholasticism, a cult of Galen and other authorities, derided doctors-skholastov.

Paracelsus reflected spirit of an era of the early Renaissance in the views and activity. It put forward experience as a basis of knowledge: «The theory of the doctor is an experience. Nobody can become a doctor without science and experience». Paracelsus demanded work in laboratory from the doctor scientist and with pride said about himself and the pupils that they «have rest in laboratory, the fingers in coals and garbage and all dirt put, but not in rings gold, and are similar to the smiths and coal miners smoked».

Paracelsus considered that the processes which are made in a human body are chemical and that the chemistry is fated to play a huge role in medicine. He can be considered one of founders yatrokhimiya (see). Studying of a number of healing mineral waters by Paracelsus is connected with interest in chemistry.

In surgery Paracelsus demanded that wounds «were protected from external enemies» by pure bandages, and insisted on association of surgery and therapy, at that time sharply opposed, considered, as that, and another «proceed from one knowledge», and defiantly called himself «the doctor of both medicine».

Inconsistency of outlook of Paracelsus is undoubted. Along with materialistic in general views in the field of natural sciences and medicine representations of mystical and religious character also are characteristic of it. Such is, e.g., its doctrine about «Archean» — the divine spiritual principle regulating life of an organism. Contradictory statements of Paracelsus caused use of its heritage as the vra-chami-innovators and chemists-estest-voispytatelyami leaning on his thought of «pilot knowledge» and studying of natural phenomena and the mystics, authors of idealistic doctrines who were quite often distorting his valid views. His statements about a public appearance and a debt of the doctor are known: «The doctor does not dare to be either the torturer, or the executioner, or the servant of the executioner».

Works: Samtliche Werke, Bd 1 — 14. Miinchen — V., 1922 — 1933; Samtliche Werke in zeitgemasser Kurzung, Bd 1 — 6, St. Gal-len, 1945 — 1948.

Bibliography: History of medicine, under the editorship of B. D. Petrov, t. 1, page 114, M., 1954; Proskuryakov V. Paracelsus, M., 1935; Geschichte der Medizin, Einfuhrung in ihre Grundzuge, hrsg. v. A. Mette u. J. Winter, S. 176, B., 1968; Schubert E.i. Sudhoff K. Paracelsus-Forsehun-gen, Hft 1-2, Frankfurt and. / M., 1887 — 1889.

P.E. Zabludowsky.