By way of a blissfully short introduction, my name is Mike A. Zuber and I’m a PhD candidate at the University of Amsterdam. (For the record, Mike happens to be my actual given name as stated in all official documents, so please don’t call me Michael.) My research project is concerned with what I’ve tentatively called ‘theosophical chymistry’ in the early eighteenth century, particularly in German-speaking contexts. If you’d like to find out more about my research and academic activities, you’re welcome to stop by at Academia.edu.
This blog owes its name to a book first published in 1733: Microcosmische Vorspiele Des Neuen Himmels und der Neuen Erde (Microcosmic Preludes of the New Heaven and the New Earth). This is but one of many intriguing, though mostly forgotten books that have come down to us from the turbulent early-modern period (by general consensus, roughly 1492 to 1789), an era ripe with political, religious and scientific tensions. And it is to such barely remembered books that this blog is dedicated, books I come across during my research and would love to investigate more closely than time permits, due to the fascinating glimpses of the lives and thoughts of our early-modern ancestors they provide.
With this in mind, the blog will serve as a channel for productive procrastination and an outlet for whatever thoughts I might jot down regarding such books, and who knows, the posts might turn out to be the seeds of something bigger—microcosmic preludes, as it were.
As a digression, or possibly a long-term cliffhanger: since I mentioned the Microcosmische Vorspiele, I should like to point out that most library catalogues mistakenly attribute it to Johann Conrad Dippel (1673-1734), who indignantly defended himself against this attribution shortly before his death. In fact, he even styled himself an ‘orthodox annihilator … of the so-called, entirely unfounded microcosmical new creation as the prelude to a new heaven and a new earth’ (F. W. Strieder, Grundlage zu einer Hessischen Gelehrten und Schriftsteller Geschichte, 1783, vol. 3, p. 131).
The radical Pietist and collector of hymns Christoph Schütz (1689-1750) has also been suggested as the author, though the leading Schütz specialist deems this highly unlikely (Konstanze Grutschnig-Kieser, Der “Geistliche Würtz= Kräuter und Blumen=Garten” des Christoph Schütz, 2006, pp. 310-11).
At present, then, we have to conclude that this mysterious ‘lover of divine and natural secrets’ remains unidentified. Quite possibly, though, he (?) is the same ‘lover of divine and natural secrets’ that added an ‘Appendix of Several Rare Chymical Manuscripts’ to the edition of Georg von Welling’s Opus mago-cabbalisticum et theosophicum prepared by Schütz in 1735 (pp. 517-82)…