Benedictus Figulus

Benedictus Figulus, or Benedikt Heffner (1467 – after 1619)

listen to our podcast on him here:

This guy wasn’t that easy to research. I only found stuff in German. Go ahead and look him up, we’ll wait… all German? Well we translated stuff just for you, so this guy might be new. We hope you find him interesting. This one will be a short one, just a footnote to the history of alchemy really.. but an interesting one anyway.

Benedictus Figulus (dt. Benedikt Heffner,) born in 1567 in Uttenhofen near Schwäbisch Hall, but vanished after 1619. So again in our golden age of Alchemy around Rudolf II’s time. He was a German alchemist, preacher, poet and publisher. He was an important representative of Paracelsianism. He was the son of a preacher and and studied the Universität Wittenberg. He became a preacher in his own right in 1593 in Lipprichhausen… but had to flee in 1601 because he divorced his wife. He started publishing poems and versions of psalms. Around this time he started to publicly state his support for Paracelsus.. and like many others on our show started traveling. In this time between 1607 and 1609 is when he published most of his alchemical works. including works by Paracelsus and Alexander von Suchten.

He kept having trouble because he was shakin’ up with his girl without being married, and was even arrested and locked up for a while. Not just his marital status caused him trouble though, in 1617 we was chased out of Strassbourg because of his “generally crazy opinions” (translation my own)… and then more or less just vanished. The last dated work of his is a collection of alchemical recipes for a goldsmith in Buchsweiler in 1619, so it’s assumed he was still in Alsace at that time. He did write much, if anything himself, but he’s noted as being important to the spreading German alchemical works. Among his publications were commentaries on Paracelsus and philosophers and commented on Hermes Trismegistus. He tried to define the philosopher’s stone and aqua vitae. He published works on salts and their use. It’s rumored he was also in touch with Rosecrusians, but evidence is lacking.

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