Jakob Böhme – Biography of Jakob Böhme

The German philosopher Jakob bohme He was born in 1575, in Altseidenberg, near Görlitz, Saxony, at the end of the Protestant Reformation period. After receiving a rudimentary education, he went, in 1594 or 1595, to nearby Görlitz, the city where controversies over the problems of the Reformation broke out.

There crypto-Calvinists (Lutherans charged with maintaining Calvinist views), Anabaptists (radical Protestants), Schwenkfeldians (followers of the reformer Schwenkfeld), Paracelsian doctors (followers of the occult doctor Paracelsus) and humanists, competed with Orthodox Lutherans. Martin Möller, the Lutheran pastor from Görlitz, was “waking up” many in the congregations he had established.

In 1600, newly married and newly established with a business of his own as a shoemaker, Böhme, probably stimulated by Möller, had a religious experience within the period of a quarter of an hour in which he obtained an empirical and speculative insight that helped him resolve the tensions your age. The tension between medieval and Renaissance cosmologies, the perennial problem of evil, the collapse of feudal hierarchies, and the political and religious bifurcation of the time, found resolution in the rediscovery of Böhme of the dialectical principle that “all things consist of Yes and NoBasically Lutheran, this principle became for him a Realdialektik (“real dialectic”), a wide range of polarization of empirical or natural reality.

Germinating for several years, the idea led him to commit his thoughts on paper, at first only for his own use. The manuscript was titled Aurora, oder Morgenröthe im Aufgang (1612; Aurora) and was written in stages. Defined by Böhme as a “childish beginning,” it was a conglomeration of theology, philosophy, and what later became astrology, all tied together by a common devotional theme. When circulated among his friends, a copy of Aurora fell into the hands of Gregory Richter, Martin Möller’s successor as pastor, who condemned the shoemaker’s theological claims. Richter raised the matter with the Görlitz city council, which forbade Böhme to continue writing.

There was a period of silence during which the ideas of Böhme they matured and their foreign affairs prospered. He read the “great teachers” as well as other unnamed books that were loaned to him by the circle of neighbors and friends who were impressed by the intellectual shoemaker who wrote books. These friends, some doctors and others from the nobility, made Böhme know speculative alchemy, especially the writings of the Swiss doctor Paracelsus, very popular at the time. The alchemical and mystical views of Paracelsus further inspired Böhme’s interest in nature mysticism and gave him the terminology that, in a partially integrated way, dominated his next period.

Although he never worked in a laboratory, Böhme he used his alchemical terms to describe both his natural mysticism and his subjective experiences, which he tried to integrate into a common framework. During this period he wrote at least six treatises that circulated cautiously among his friends, creating an influential and respected reputation for him. This second period of literary activity began in 1619, the year when the Thirty Years’ War (1618–48) began to gather momentum; in fact, he himself was in Prague when King Winter, Frederick V of the Rhine Palatinate, entered.

The various strident controversies of the time forced Böhme to a period of religious apologetics in which he had to protest against accusations, more implicit than real, of Calvinism (Reformed views), Chiliasm (belief in the 1000-year reign of God’s people at the end of history) , and fanatical sectarianism. Reconstructing his theological views, he wrote a series of devotional treatises dealing with penance, resignation, regeneration, traditional themes of German mysticism. In 1622 his friends had several of these devotional treatises printed at Görlitz under the title Der Weg zu Christo (The way to Christ), a small work that unites the mysticism of nature with devotional fervor. The publication of this treatise provoked the intense displeasure of Richter, who incited the population against Böhme.

In 1623, the year of his maturity, he wrote two main works: The great mystery Y On the choice of grace. The first explained the creation of the universe as said in Genesis in terms of the three Paracelsian principles (including the mystical elements “salt”, “sulfur” and “mercury”), thus linking Renaissance nature mysticism with religion. Biblical. The latter, more philosophical, gave an exposition in terms of a dialectical view of the problem of freedom that Calvinist predestination (the view that God knows the destiny of man) was exacerbating. This theme was later taken up by the idealistic philosopher Friedrich Schelling and by a German theologian, Franz von Baader, whose commentary for the Choice of Grace is still highly respected by scholars.

Böhme he continued to write at a hectic pace, perhaps freed from business obligations by the financial help of his friends. Between 1619, when he defiantly renewed his writing, and 1624, when he died, he produced at least 30 works. His defiance of the Görlitz town hall brought him further difficulties, and he was banished, being summoned to the Elector’s court in Dresden, where, to all appearances, he found vindication because he returned home.

Although vindicated by theologians who had examined his views, he was not free from the spiteful humor of his neighbors who were instigated in his attacks by Richter. Esteemed by his friends among the nobility, doctors and intellectuals, he fled to one of the neighboring castles where he was clearly the central figure in some kind of secret group. There he fell ill and, feeling that his end was near, he was taken back to his home in Görlitz, where, cared for by his wife and children, he began to weaken. He was examined by the ecclesiastical authorities and found orthodox enough to receive the sacrament, and in a state of charismatic expectation, he died.