Sunday, November 17, 2013

Jacob Bohme (1575 - 1624)

  A German Christian mystic and theologian born in April 1575, at Alt Seidenberg.Böhme was the fourth of five children. Böhme's first job was that of a herd boy. When he was 14 years old, he  apprenticed to become a shoemaker. His apprenticeship for shoemaking was hard; he lived with a family who were not Christians, which exposed him to the controversies of the time. He regularly prayed and read the Bible as well as works by visionaries such as Paracelsus, Weigel and Schwenckfeld

 Although he received no formal education he is considered an original thinker within the Lutheran tradition, and his first book, commonly known as Aurora, caused a great scandal. In contemporary English. 

  Böhme had a number of mystical experiences throughout his youth, culminating in a vision  in 1600 as one day he focused his attention onto the exquisite beauty of a beam of sunlight reflected in a pewter dish. He believed this vision revealed to him the spiritual structure of the world, as well as the relationship between God and man, and good and evil. At the time he chose not to speak of this experience openly, preferring instead to continue his work and raise a family

 In 1610 Böhme experienced another inner vision in which he further understood the unity of the cosmos and that he had received a special vocation from God.

 Having given up shoe making in 1613, Böhme sold woollen gloves for a while, which caused him to regularly visit Prauge to sell his wares

 Twelve years after the vision in 1600, Böhme began to write his first book, Die Morgenroete im Aufgang (The rising of Dawn). The book was given the name Aurora by a friend; however, Böhme originally wrote the book for himself and it was never completed. A manuscript copy of the unfinished work was loaned to Karl von Ender, a nobleman, who had copies made and began to circulate them. A copy fell into the hands of Gregorius Richter, the chief pastor of Görlitz, who considered it heretical and threatened Böhme with exile if he continued working on it. As a result, Böhme did not write anything for several years; however, at the insistence of friends who had read Aurora, he started writing again in 1618.

In 1619 Böhme wrote "De Tribus Principiis" or "On the Three Principles of Divine Being". It took him two years to finish his second book, which was followed by many other treatises, all of which were copied by hand and circulated only among friends. In 1620 Böhme wrote "The Threefold Life of Man", "Forty Questions on the Soul", "The Incarnation of Jesus Christ", "The Six Theosophical Points", "The Six Mystical Points". In 1622 Böhme wrote "De signatha". In 1623 Böhme wrote "On Election to Grace", "On Christ's Testaments", "Mysterium Magnum", "Clavis (Key)". The year 1622 saw Böhme write some short works all of which were subsequently included in his first published book on New Year's Day 1624, under the title Weg zu Christo (the way of Christ) 

 The publication caused another scandal and following complaints by the clergy, Böhme was summoned to the Town Council .He fell terminally ill with a bowel complaint forcing him to travel home on 7 November. Gregorius Richter, Böhme's adversary from Görlitz, had died in August 1624, while Böhme was away. The new clergy, still wary of Böhme, forced him to answer a long list of questions when he wanted to receive the sacrament. 

He died on November 17, 1624.

adapted from several sources

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