Philalethes (or Philaletha), Eirenaeus (ca. 1660)
Philalethes (or Philaletha), Eirenaeus (ca. 1660)
The life of this alchemist is wrapped in mystery although a considerable mass of writing stands to his credit. The name, a pseudonym, is similar to the one used by Thomas Vaughan, who wrote as Eugenius Philalethes ). Whoever Eirenaeus Philalethes was, however, he was not Vaughan. Others have striven to identify him with George Starkey, the doctor and author of Liquor Alchahest, but Starkey died of the plague in London in 1665, and it is known that Eirenaeus was living for some years after that date.
Philalethes appears to have been on intimate terms with Robert Boyle and, although this points to his having spent a considerable time in England, it is certain that he emigrated to America. Starkey was born in the Bermudas, and practiced his medical crafts in the English settlements in America, where, according to his contemporary biographers, he met Eirenaeus Philalethes. This meeting may have given rise to the identification of Starkey as Philalethes, while it is probably Starkey to whom Philalethes referred when, in a preface to one of his books, he told of certain of his writings falling "into the hands of one who, I conceive, will never return them," for in 1654 Starkey issued a volume with the title, The Marrow of Alchemy by Eirenaeus Philoponus Philalethes.
It is to prefaces by Philalethes that we must chiefly look for any information about him. In the thirteenth chapter of his Introitus Apertus ad Occlusum Regis Palatium (Amsterdam, 1667) he also made a few autobiographical statements which illuminate his character and career.
"For we are like Cain, driven from the pleasant society we formerly had," he wrote, which suggests that he was persecuted. Elsewhere he heaped scorn on most of the hermetic philosophers of his day. Elsewhere, again, he criticized the popular worship of money. "I disdain, loathe, and detest the idolizing of silver and gold, by which the pomps and vanities of the world are celebrated. Ah! filthy, evil, ah! vain nothingness."
In his preface to Ripley Revived (London, 1678), he gave some account of those who wrote on alchemy to whom he felt himself chiefly indebted. "For my own part, I have cause to honour Bernard Trévisan, who is very ingenious, especially in the letter to Thomas of Boulogne, when I seriously confess I received the main light in the hidden secret. I do not remember that ever I learnt anything from Raymond Lully…. I know of none like Ripley, though Flamel be eminent."
Lenglet du Fresnoy, in his Histoire de la Philosophie Hermétique (1742), referred to numerous unpublished manuscripts by Eirenaeus Philalethes, but nothing is known about these today.
Philalethes, Eirenaeus. Enarratio methodica trium Gebri medici-narum. N.p., 1678.
——. Introitus apertus ad occlusum Regis Palatium. N.p., 1667.
——. The Marrow of Alchemy. N.p., 1654.
——. Ripley Reviv'd; or an Exposition upon Sir George Ripley's Hermetico-Poetical Works. 5 vols. London: T. Ratcliff and N. Thompson, 1677-78.
——. Tractatus tres: (i) Metallorum Metamorphosis; (ii) Brevis Manuductio ad Rubinum Coelestem; (iii) Fons Chymicae Veritatis. N.p., 1678; 1694.
"Philalethes (or Philaletha), Eirenaeus (ca. 1660)." Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.
"Philalethes (or Philaletha), Eirenaeus (ca. 1660)." Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 20, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/philalethes-or-philaletha-eirenaeus-ca-1660
"Philalethes (or Philaletha), Eirenaeus (ca. 1660)." Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. . Retrieved September 20, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/philalethes-or-philaletha-eirenaeus-ca-1660
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.
Butler, Josephine Elizabeth
"Butler, Josephine Elizabeth." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 20, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/butler-josephine-elizabeth
"Butler, Josephine Elizabeth." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Retrieved September 20, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/butler-josephine-elizabeth