Boehme or Böhme, Jakob [key], 1575–1624, German religious mystic, a cobbler of Görlitz, in England also called Behmen. He was a student of the Bible and was influenced by Paracelsus. In his major works, De signatura rerum (tr. The Signature of all Things, 1912) and Mysterium magnum, Boehme describes God as the abyss, the nothing and the all, the primordial depths from which the creative will struggles forth to find manifestation and self-consciousness. Evil is a result of the striving of single elements of Deity to become the whole; conflict ensues as man and nature strive to achieve God who, in himself, contains all antithetical principles. Boehme exerted a profound influence on the philosophies of Baader, Schelling, Hegel, and Schopenhauer. Boehme claimed divine revelation and had many followers in Germany and Holland. Societies of Behmenites were formed in England; many of them were later absorbed by the Quakers.
See The Confessions of Jacob Boehme, ed. by W. S. Palmer (1954); study by D. Walsh (1983); biography by F. Hartmann (1985).
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