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Recent Acquisitions

The Emerald Tablet

May 29th, 2015

THE EMERALD TABLET Recently acquired by The Ritman Library: The Emerald Tablet one of the root texts of alchemy is a brief alchemical work attributed to Hermes Trismegistus. Historically the work is part of the Hermetic corpus and seems to have the same origins as the rest of the Corpus Hermeticum. The text was discovered, […]

V.I.T.R.I.O.L. – An Alchemical Artwork by Mireille Robbe

May 15th, 2014

Recently, the library received an artwork by the Belgian artist Mireille Robbe called V.I.T.R.I.O.L. The acronym refers to the famous alchemical motto ‘Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem‘ meaning: ‘Visit the Interior Parts of the Earth; by Rectification Thou Shalt Find the Hidden Stone‘. The words may also be taken to refer to a Grail-like […]

Böhme’s legacy abused!

December 16th, 2013

Böhme’s legacy abused! The above words certainly do not apply to the International Jacob-Böhme-Institut (IJBI). This institute, established in Böhme’s native town of Görlitz, aims to bring the legacy of the theosopher and mystic Jacob Böhme to public attention and make it more accessible ( Recently, the IJBI published a new volume containing contributions by […]

“God is an infinite sphere…”

December 9th, 2013

“God is an infinite sphere…” Alanus de Insulis, De maximis theologiae. [Basel, Jakob Wollf, before 1492] This incunable (i.e. a book printed before 1500) is the first edition of the most important work by Alain de Lille, as he is also called in English after his place of birth. Alanus was a philosopher and theologian […]

Prestigieuses bibliothèques du monde

November 21st, 2013

Prestigieuses bibliothèques du monde by Jean-François Blondel (Oxus 2013). The French word ‘bibliothèque’ (library) comes from the Greek biblion, “book”, and thékê, “place, location”. It is the place where books are preserved, in the most general sense, that is to say the written word, and it is here where they are consulted. This French publication […]

Solomon’s Secret Arts

November 13th, 2013

Paul Kléber Monod, Solomon’s Secret Arts. The occult in the age of Enlightenment. Yale University Press, 2013 ‘WONDERS!, WONDERS!, WONDERS! and WONDERS!’ With these words showman Dr Gustavus Katterfelto, wearing a long black cloak and cap, praised his demonstrations of scientific marvels such as phosphorus matches, but also the revelation of ‘occult secrets’ in the 1780s. […]

Bruiloft by Claudy Jongstra (De Ketelfactory 2013).

November 8th, 2013

Bruiloft by Claudy Jongstra (De Ketelfactory 2013). Claudy Jongstra is a creative artist who enthusiastically experiments with natural materials to create works of art. In her work she particularly likes to use felt as a basic material. Jongstra’s sources of inspiration for her project ‘Bruiloft’ (‘ wedding’) came from the life and work of the […]

Free Adriaan Koerbagh!

October 31st, 2013

Free Adriaan Koerbagh! Unfortunately, it ‘s a little too late for that: Koerbagh died in prison in 1669 (a ‘Rasphuis’ in Amsterdam). He belonged to the circle of Spinoza, and wrote a very critical lexicon debunking the dogmas of the reformed and other churches. Read all about this ‘heretic’ whose thumb would have been chopped […]

The Secret Heresy of Hieronymus Bosch

October 23rd, 2013

Lynda Harris, author of The Secret Heresy of Hieronymus Bosch (first published 1985, reprinted 2002) is one of the many authors attracted by the enigma of Bosch’ paintings and interested in exploring possible influences: “Behind their appearance of orthodoxy, they portray the doctrines and attitudes of Catharism”, as the blurb claims. The author believes that […]

A lucky hit?

October 18th, 2013

A few months ago the BPH acquired a number of anthroposophical works dating from the 1920s and 1930s. The collection not only consists of books, but also includes an admittance ticket to one of Rudolf Steiner’s mystery plays, Hüter der Schwelle. The name on the printed ticket, showing the Rosicrucian symbol designed by Steiner himself, […]