Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy

Living Edition
| Editors: Marco Sgarbi

Du Chesne, Joseph

Born: 1546, Lectoure (Armagnac)
Died: 20 August 1609, Paris
  • Miguel López-Pérez
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-02848-4_1094-1


Joseph Du Chesne advocated for the fusion of chemistry and medicine, claiming that chemical medicine could offer substantial benefits to academic or Galenic medicine. This advocacy was contemporaneous with bitter controversies, ranging from the agitation of Paracelsus’s followers to the rise of Spagyrists, and the debates over the need to purify Galenism. A backdrop to all of this was the changes in and growth of alchemy. Du Chesne proposed two things: first, a conceptual framework that would serve as the theoretical basis for chemical medicine and, second, a practical, demonstrative system, characterized by distillation. In addition, Du Chesne was well aware that he faced significant challenges in proposing his chemical innovations, but he persevered in the hopes that his new medical system would gain adherents.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


Primary Literature

  1. Aubert, Jacques. 1575. Jacobi Auberti,... De metallorum ortu et causis contra chemistas brevis & dilucida explication. Lyon: Johannem Berion.Google Scholar
  2. Aubert, Jacques. 1576. Jacobi Auberti,... Duae apologeticae responsiones ad Josephum Quercetanum. In priore de Paracelsicorum ladano et calcinatis cancrorum oculis disseritur, in posteriore chemiam esse vanam ostenditur. Lyon: I. Ausulti.Google Scholar
  3. Chesne, Du, and Joseph. 1607. Pharmacopea Dogmaticorum Restituta pretiosis selectisque hermeticorum floribus abunde illustrate. Paris: Claudium Morellum.Google Scholar
  4. Du Chesne, Joseph. 1587. Le Grand Miroir Du Monde. Lyon: B. Honorat.Google Scholar
  5. Quercetanus, Joseph. 1575. Ad Jac. Auberti de ortu et causis metallorum contra chymicos explicationem, Jos. Quercetani brevis responsio; ejusd. de exquisita mineralium, animalium et vegetabilium medicamentorum spagyrica praeparatione et usu perspicua tractatio. Lyon: Joannem Lertotium.Google Scholar
  6. Quercetanus, Joseph. 1576. Josephi Quercetani medici Sclopetarius, sive, De curandis vulneribus, quae sclopetorum & similium tormentorum ictibus acciderunt, liber ejusdem Antidotarium spagiricum adversus eosdem ictus. Lyon: Joannem Lertotium.Google Scholar
  7. Quercetanus, Josephus. 1603. Liber de priscorum philosophorum verae medicinae material. Saint-Gervais: Eustache Vignon.Google Scholar

Secondary Literature

  1. Debus, Allen G. 1977. The chemical philosophy : Paracelsian science and medicine in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. New York: Science History Publications.Google Scholar
  2. Franckowiak, Rémi. 2010. I Salify, therefore I can see and touch: The case of the chemical principles. In Chymia: Science and nature in medieval and early modern Europe (1450–1750), ed. M. López-Pérez, 279–289. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars.Google Scholar
  3. Gilly, Carlos. 1979. Zwischen Erfahrung und Spekulation: Theodor Zwinger und die religiöse und kulturelle Krise seiner Zeit. Basler Zeitschrift für Geschichte und Altertumskunde 77: 57–137; 79: 125–233.Google Scholar
  4. Hirai, Hiro. 2005. Le concept de semence dans les théories de la matière à la Renaissance. Tournhout: Brepols. ch. 12.Google Scholar
  5. Hirai, Hiro. 2010. The world-Spirit and quintessence in the Chymical philosophy of Joseph du Chesne. In Chymia: Science and nature in medieval and early modern Europe (1450–1750), ed. M. López-Pérez, 247–271. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars.Google Scholar
  6. Kahn, Didier. 2004. L’interprétation alchimique de la Genèse chez Joseph Du Chesne dans le contexte de ses doctrines alchimiques et cosmologiques. In Scientiae et artes: Die Vermittlung alten und neuen Wissens in Literatur, Kunst und Musik, ed. Barbara Mahlmann-Bauer, 641–692. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.Google Scholar
  7. Kahn, Didier. 2007. Alchimie et paracelsisme en France à la fin de la Renaissance (1567–1625). Paris: Droz.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Miguel López-Pérez
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Historia ModernaUniversidad Complutense de MadridMadridSpain

Section editors and affiliations

  • Hiro Hirai
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for the History of Philosophy and ScienceRadboud Universiteit NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands