Eric Chaim Kline, Bookseller

Eric Chaim Kline, Bookseller

Quaedam praemeditatae [et] consideratae cogitationes super quatuor priora capita Libri Primi Moysis, Genesis nominati (Some Carefully Considered Thoughts on the First Four Chapters of the First Book of Moses, Called Genesis) [A KABBALISTIC INTERPRETATION of the BIBLICAL BOOK OF GENESIS, GHOST-WRITTEN BY LEIBNIZ]

Amsterdam: Henricus Wetstein, 1697. First edition. Hardcover. Octavo. [8], 115 [i.e., 127], [1, blank]pp. Title in red and black. Contemporary half-calf over speckled boards, gilt-tooled spine with raised bands, morocco lettering piece; marbled endpapers. Tiny worm-trace at corners of last ten leaves, else a fine, crisp copy.

Collation: [asterisk]4, A-G8, H4, I4 (= 68 leaves).

First Edition of the author's last work, which was in fact ghostwritten by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716). The itinerant teacher, alchemist and writer Francisciscus Mercurius Van Helmont (1614-1698) “served as the link between the Kabbalah and the Cambridge Platonists led by Henry More and Ralph Cudworth, who made use of kabbalistic motifs for their own original speculative purposes” (Enc. Jud. 10:646). His deep interest in Jewish mystical doctrines is reflected in van Helmont's collaboration with Christian Knorr von Rosenroth in the publication of the Kabbala Denudata (1677, 1684). "Van Helmont was a close friend of both Leibniz and Locke and may have acted as an intermediary between the two" (Hanegraaff). Leibniz took a much greater interest in the Jewish mystical tradition than had previously been acknowledged by an earlier generation of scholars. As Sheila Spector and Allison Coudert have each discussed in recents works on van Helmont and the Christian engagement with Kabbalah, "Leibniz was interested in van Helmont's kabbalistic philosophy, encouraging him to publish his ideas and even helping him to the point of ghostwriting his last book, Quaedam praemeditate & considerate cogitationes super quatuor priora capita libri primi Moysis (1697), a kabbalistic interpretation of Genesis. Leibniz's epitaph for van Helmont is a striking tribute to their friendship: 'Here lies the other van Helmont, in no way inferior to his father. / He joined together the arts and sciences and / Revived the sacred doctrines of Pythagoras and the Kabbalah. / Like Elaus he was able to make everything he needed with his own hands. / Had he been born in earlier centuries among the Greeks, / He would now be numbered among the stars.' [...] It has been alleged that Leibniz derived the term 'monad' from various philosophers, ranging from Giordano Bruno to Henry More. However, a strong case can be made for van Helmont as his most direct and important source... Leibniz's correspondence with the Lutheran millenarian and advocate of universal salvation Johann Wilhelm Petersen reveals that by the end of his life he accepted the radical, kabbalistic idea of tikkun and believed that every created thing would eventually reach a state of perfection" (Hanegraaff).

Provenance: The copy of Walter Traugott Ulrich Pagel (1898-1983), pathologist and historian of medicine and alchemy. The author of a seminal work on Paracelsus, Pagel wrote two works on Joan Baptista van Helmont, the father of Franciscus Mercurius van Helmont. With the manuscript ex-libris slip of Pagel's son B[ernard] E[phraim] J[ulius] Pagel tipped-in at the front endpaper along with a manuscript note indicating that the present work contains alchemical passages, notably on p. 62. Fine. Item #49129

References: The Library of John Locke 1416; W. J. Hanegraaff (ed.), Dictionary of Gnosis and Western Esotericism (Leiden: Brill, 2006), p. 467; S. A. Spector, Francis Mercury van Helmont's Sketch of Christian Kabbalism (Leiden: Brill, 2012), p. 12; A. P. Coudert, The Impact of the Kabbalah in the Seventeenth Century, The Life and Thought of Francis Mercury van Helmont (Leiden: Brill, 1999), p. 379; and chap. 13 "Leibniz and the Kabbalah"

Price: $4,000.00