Forgery and the Crucible: Western Alchemy, Science, and Pseudoscience


In this retro 2018 documentary film ‘Forgery and the Crucible: Western Alchemy, Science, and Pseudoscience’, historian Dan Attrell lays out some of the most virulent debates among historians of western alchemy, especially with respects to the question: “Was Alchemy a science or a pseudoscience?”

Selected Bibliography:

Ball, Philip. The Devil’s Doctor: Paracelsus and the World of Renaissance Magic and Science. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006.

Dear, Peter. Revolutionizing the Sciences. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001.

Devun, Leah. Prophecy, Alchemy, and the End of Time: John Rupescissa in the Late Middle Ages. New York: Columbia University Press, 2009.

Eliade, Mircea. “The Forge and the Crucible: A Postscript.” History of Religions 8 (1), 1968: 74-88.

Eliade, Mircea, and Stephen Corrin (trans.). The Forge and the Crucible. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962.

Godfrey-Smith, Peter. Theory and Reality. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003. Hall, A. Rupert. The Scientific Revolution, 1500–1800: The Formation of a Modern Scientific Attitude. Boston: Beacon, 1962.

Holmyard, Eric J. Alchemy. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1957. Matus, Zachary. “Alchemy and Christianity in the Middle Ages.” History Compass 10/12, 2012: 934-945.

Newman, William R. “What Have We Learned from the Recent Historiography of Alchemy.” Isis 102, 2, June 2011: 313-321.

Newman, William R., and Lawrence M. Principe. “Alchemy vs. Chemistry: The Etymological Origins of a Historiographic Mistake.” Early Science and Medicine 3 (1), 1998: 32-65.

Nummedal, Tara. Alchemy and Authority in the Holy Roman Empire. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.

Pereira, Michela. “Alchemy and the Use of Vernacular Languages in the Late Middle Ages.” Speculum 74 (2), 1999: 336-356.

Principe, Lawrence M. The Secrets of Alchemy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013.

Taylor, F. Sherwood. The Alchemists. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1992. Thompson, C. J. S. The Lure and Romance of Alchemy. London: George G. Harrap & Co., 1932.

Wootton, David. The Invention of Science: A New History of the Scientific Revolution. UK: Allen Lane, 2015.

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