Jakob Böhme


Jakob Böhme : biography

April 24, 1575 – 17 November 1624


"Everything has its mouth to manifestation; and this is the language of nature, whence everything speaks out of its property, and continually manifests, declares, and sets forth itself for what is good or profitable; for each thing manifests its mother, which thus gives the essence and the will to the form." "When you are art gone forth wholly from the creature [human], and have become nothing to all that is nature and creature, then you are in that eternal one, which is God himself, and then you will perceive and feel the highest virtue of love. Also, that I said whoever findes it finds nothing and all things; that is also true, for he finds a supernatural, supersensual Abyss, having no ground, where there is no place to live in; and he finds also nothing that is like it, and therefore it may be compared to nothing, for it is deeper than anything, and is as nothing to all things, for it is not comprehensible; and because it is nothing, it is free from all things, and it is that only Good, which a man cannot express or utter what it is. But that I lastly said, he that finds it, finds all things, is also true; it has been the beginning of all things, and it rules all things. If you find it, you come into that ground from whence all things proceed, and wherein they subsist, and you are in it a king over all the works of God." [The Way to Christ, 1623]

This quote, which is taken from A budget of paradoxes by Augustus De Morgan, gives an idea of the way Böhme "thought": "Thus SUL is the soul, in an herb it is the oil, and in man also, according to the spirit of this world in the third principle, which is continually generated out of the anguish of the will in the mind, and the Brimstone-worm is the Spirit, which hath the fire and burneth: PHUR is the sour wheel in itself which causeth that." This "etymology" of sulphur, to which De Morgan adds the even more ludicrous one of Mercury, is taken from page 13 of the second volume of the edition of 1664 of "The works of Jacob Behme, the Teutonic Teosopher", 1664, published by M. Richardson.

References by modern authors

His description of the three original Principles and the seven Spirits offers a striking analogy with the Law of three and the law of seven which are described in the works of Boris Mouravieff and George Gurdjieff

On the "Mappa Mundi" that C. S. Lewis included at the beginning of his novel The Pilgrim’s Regress, a region in the far South (the area that, in the novel, symbolizes excessive emotionalism and moral and intellectual dissolution) is identified as "Behmenheim". In his preface to the third edition of the book, Lewis said that this region "is named, unfairly, after Jakob Boehme or Behmen". Like many of the other regions on the map, however, Behmenheim does not figure in the plot of the novel itself.

Writer Cormac McCarthy includes the following Böhme quote to introduce his novel Blood Meridian: "It is not to be thought that the life of darkness is sunk in misery and lost as if in sorrowing. There is no sorrowing. For sorrow is a thing that is swallowed up in death, and death and dying are the very life of the darkness."



In addition to the scientific revolution, the 17th century was a time of mystical revolution in Catholicism, Protestantism and Judaism. The Protestant revolution developed from Böhme and some medieval mystics. Böhme became important in intellectual circles in Protestant Europe, following from the publication of his books in England, Holland and Germany in the 1640s and 1650s.Popkin 1998, pp. 401-402 Böhme was especially important for the Millenarians and was taken seriously by the Cambridge Platonists and Dutch Collegiants. Henry More was critical of Böhme and claimed he was not a real prophet, and had no exceptional insight into metaphysical questions. More, for example, dismissed Opera Posthuma by Spinoza as a return to Behmenism.Popkin 1998, p. 402