Universität Erfurt

Projekt von Dr. Sietske Fransen

Dr. Sietske Fransen

Visualisation of Knowledge between Theory and Practice in Early Modern Alchemy

During this project, I wish to look at a large range of alchemical books and manuscripts in the Gotha Research Library and the Staatsarchiv to investigate ways of transferring textual information to actual practice. The project will form part of a larger research programme with the title “Visualisation as translation of scientific knowledge in early modern Europe: The personal use of tables and images between text and practice in alchemy, geomancy, and medicine”. I argue that the differences between the ways of visualizing scientific knowledge in each of these fields can be explained by means of the different methods of teaching and acquiring expertise, and the use of the texts and their visualisations in practice. The material left by scribes and note-takers will be used as the main tool to assess the use of structuring and visualizing scientific knowledge. Alchemical manuscripts and printed books from the sixteenth and seventeenth century will be used to show how not only tables, but also images were used to bridge the gap between text and practice. The alchemical images elevate the relationship between text and practice onto another level of visualization when compared with the geomantic and medical tables and diagrams. This project will therefore help to provide an understanding of the early modern concept of structuring knowledge as a form of translation between text and practice and vice versa.






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