Jakob Böhme was a German philosopher, Christian mystic, and Lutheran Protestant theologian.
Jakob Böhme was considered an original thinker by many of his contemporaries within the Lutheran tradition, and his first book, commonly known as Aurora, caused a great scandal.
Böhme was born on 24 April 1575 at Alt Seidenberg (now Stary Zawidów, Poland).
Böhme’s writing shows the influence of Neoplatonist and alchemical writers such as Paracelsus while remaining firmly within a Christian tradition.
He has in turn greatly influenced many anti-authoritarian and mystical movements, such as Radical Pietism (including the Ephrata Cloister and Society of the Woman in the Wilderness), the Religious Society of Friends, the Philadelphians, the Gichtelians, the Harmony Society, the Zoarite Separatists, Rosicrucianism, Martinism, and Christian theosophy.
Böhme’s disciple and mentor, the Liegnitz physician Balthasar Walther, who had traveled to the Holy Land in search of magical, kabbalistic and alchemical wisdom, also introduced kabbalistic ideas into Böhme’s thought.
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.
Jakob Böhme was especially important for the Millenarians and was taken seriously by the Cambridge Platonists and Dutch Collegiants.
Overall, although his writings did not influence political or religious debates in England, his influence can be seen in more esoteric forms such as on alchemical experimentation, metaphysical speculation, and spiritual contemplation, as well as utopian literature and the development of neologisms.
Jakob Böhme Quotes:
1. “For it is the young tree grown out of the old root which shall illuminate what the old tree has been in its wonders.”
2. “It is the greatest folly that is in Babel for people to strive about religion, so that they contend vehemently about opinions of their own forging, viz.”
3. “I contemplated man’s little spark, what it should be valued before God alongside of this great work of heaven and earth.”
4. The perfect state, the summum bonum, is Play. In play, life expresses itself in its fullness. God’s life is play. Adam fell when his play became serious business.
5. We are all strings in the concert of God’s joy.
6. Open your eyes and the whole world is full of God.
7. Everything we see in nature is manifested truth; only we are not able to recognize it unless truth is manifest within ourselves.
8. In this light my spirit suddenly saw through all, and in and by all creatures, even in herbs and grass it knew God, who he is, and how he is, and what his will is: And suddenly in that light my will was set on by a mighty impulse, to describe the being of God.
9. For God is himself the Being of all Beings, and we are as gods in him, through whom he revealeth himself.
10. What kind of spiritual triumph it was I can neither write nor speak; it can only be compared with that where life is born in the midst of death, and is like the resurrection of the dead.
11. Whatever the self describes, describes the self.
12. When in such sadness I earnestly elevated my spirit into God and locked my whole heart and mind along with all my thoughts and will therein, ceaselessly pressing in with God’s Love and Mercy, and not to cease until he blessed me? then after some hard storms, my spirit broke through hell’s gates into the inmost birth of the Godhead, and there I was embraced with Love as a bridegroom embraces his dear bride.