8vo, pp. 175, title printed in red and black, double-page engraved frontispiece, and three engraved plates (one double-page plate, and minimally shaved at upper margin); lightly browned; a fine copy in contemporary sheep backed boards.
US $2659 €2154
scarce first edition, published posthumously. ‘When the Regensburg-born Gichtel (1638-1710) came to Holland, he was gripped by the spiritual movements of the mystical emigrants, who had been forced to leave Germany as a result of persecution by the Lutheran orthodoxy. In Amsterdam he also became acquainted with the works of Jacob Böhme, who appealed to him so strongly that he regarded his works in an even higher light than the Bible. Gichtel’s most enduring service to the revered master is undoubtedly the first critical collective edition in 16 parts, for which he was active as editor, publisher, and occasionally even as printer.
‘Gichtel’s own works were shaped by Böhme, although Gichtel was also aware of the fact that he had to go one step beyond Böhme. For instance, he rejected marriage, because he took Böhme’s idea about the original androgynous nature of man too literally, and thus regarded woman as a reversion of the original order of creation: “The world spirit lodges itself in woman and wants to gain control of the heart and mind.” In the place of woman, Gichtel puts the heavenly virgin Sophia, who performs the spiritual marriage with the newly-born and enables the reintroduction of Melchizedekian priesthood’ (500 Years of Gnosis in Europe p. 207).
Four of the engravings ‘demonstrate the evolution of humankind from the spirit’ (The Silent Language Exhibition, Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica, online).
500 Years of Gnosis in Europe 61b; see Caillet 4522 (1779 edition).
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