Chemistry - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics

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Historical Emergence

The history of chemistry may be divided into three periods: (1) alchemy (from the beginnings of Muslim and Christian knowledge of the subject until the seventeenth century), (2) classical modern chemistry (from the middle of the seventeenth century until the middle of the nineteenth), and (3) theory-based chemistry (twentieth and twenty-first centuries). According to such interpreters as Mircea Eliade and Carl Jung, alchemy was as much a psychological or spiritual practice as a physical one, involving more esoteric religious discipline than a positive science. But at the beginning of the thirteenth century, alchemists such as Roger Bacon, Albertus Magnus, and Ramon Llull, in association with the late medieval desacralization of nature, argued for an ethical shift toward the discovery of new methods and products that had this-worldly value. Thus, the Swiss Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim (known as Paracelsus) dedicated his alchemical labors to the cure of sicknesses. According to him...

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This section contains 3,587 words
(approx. 12 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Chemistry Encyclopedia Article
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Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics
Chemistry from Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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