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Aurora Project

What is the Aurora Project? 

Initiated by Andrew Weeks, the Aurora Project is a series of translated critical editions of writings composed between 1524 and 1624 by Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, known as Paracelsus (ca. 1493-1541), Sebastian Franck (1499-1543), Valentin Weigel (1533-1588), Johannes Staricius (ca. 1580-ca. 1630), and Jacob Boehme (ca. 1575-1624).  The project takes its name from Boehme’s famous seminal work Aurora or Morgen Röte im auffgang (1612). 

Why are these writings of interest and what do they share in common? 

These works are highpoints of a tradition of German dissenting speculation or mysticism.  They constitute a tradition to the extent that Weigel, Staricius, and Boehme incorporate the ideas of their precursors. Their dissent manifests itself in their anticlerical and antiauthoritarian rejection of the dominant opinions of the learned and the clergy. They are speculative in addressing themes ranging from theology, metaphysics, and epistemology to science, medicine, and magic. They are mystical insofar as they attest to a knowledge of divine things, based on intuition, nature, or divine inspiration.  

What distinguishes the form of their publication in the Aurora Project? 

All works have been translated from critical editions or texts treated with the methods of critical edition. Most of the translations conform to a facing-page format. On the left is the best available German text, supported by a commentary that refers to the history of the source and its relation to the author’s oeuvre in its entirety. On the right is the English translation supported by commentary that contextualizes the work in history and tradition. The form of publication maximizes reliability, clarity, and contextual information.  The objective is the disclosure not only of the particular work but of its status in tradition and in intellectual history. Like the humanistic tradition or the documents of the religious confessions, the writings of the Aurora Project represent one current in the history of the sixteenth century.  

Which works have been translated?

As of December, 2013, the following works have been published (in order of their historical origination): 

  • Set 1. (Brill, 2008):
    • Paracelsus (the programmatic works of 1530-31)
      • Paragranum
      • Opus Paramirum
      • On the Origin and Cause of Diseases
      • On the Matrix 
      • On the Invisible Diseases
  • Set 2.  (Paulist Press, 2003):
    • Valentin Weigel (a sermon on tolerance and the major theoretical works of the 1570s)      
      • Sermon on the Good Seed and the Weeds
      • On the Place of the World
      • The Golden Grasp
  • Set 3. (Brill, 2013).
    • Jacob Boehme
      • Aurora or Morgen Röte im auffgang (1612)
      • A Fundamental Report (Gründlicher Bericht, Mysterium Pansophicum (1620)

Which works are in progress or planning?

Two additional volumes should be complete by 2017, bringing the total of shorter or longer works in the series up to a critical mass of 17 spanning a hundred-year period: 

Set 4. Jacob Boehme, Beschreibung der Drey Principien Göttliches Wesens (ca. 1618) 

Set 5. In one volume, A Century of German Mystical Dissent (1524-1624), the following will be encompassed together with an extensive introduction to the tradition as a whole:  

  • Paracelsus, De Sancta Trinitate (1524), De Fundamento Scientiarum Sapientiaeque (ca. 1534)
  • Sebastian Franck, Das Gott das ainig ain vnd höchtstes Gut… sey (ca. 1541)
  • Valentin Weigel, Dissenting Sermons (ca. 1575)
  • Johannes Staricius, Libellus Disputatorius (1618)
  • Jacob Boehme, Schutz-Rede wieder Gregor. Richter (1624) 

What is the purpose of this project and series?

 The general purpose is to increase our understanding of early modern intellectual history.  German mystical or speculative dissent is a current unto itself, distinct from humanism or the traditions of confessional literature.  Anticlerical and antiauthoritarian, speculative and mystical, these authors and their writings augment our understanding of the transition from the Middle Ages to the modern era.

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