"The World-Spirit and Quintessence in the Chymical Philosophy of Joseph Du Chesne," in: Chymia: Science and Nature in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (1450-1750), ed. Miguel Lopez-Perez (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2010), 247-261.
Known under the latinized name Quercetanus, the French Paracelsian Joseph Du Chesne (1546-1609) was a physician and political agent of the first French protestant king Henri IV. He exerted a profound influence on Paracelsianism, or rather the chemical philosophy of the beginning of the 17th century. His main work "Ad veritatem hermeticae medicinae" (Paris, 1604) have almost never been studied by historians seriously in spite of its impact on the later generations. A part from Didier Kahn’s biographical study in his Ph. D. dissertation, the longest studies on Du Chesne remained R. Hooykaas’ treatment in his History of the Concept of Element and A.G. Debus’ Paracelsian studies. This article analyzes Du Chesne’s matter theory and replaced it in its own historical and intellectual context by focusing on its Paracelsian, Neoplatonic and Humanistic aspects. It aims to be the first step towards the future full-scale study of the Quercetanian chemical philosophy.