Heinrich Khunrath (1560–1601 or 1604) was an influential German alchemist. Heinrich Khunrath’s work blends philosophical elements of Rosicrucianism, the Kabbalah, and Paracelsian thought.
Khunrath was born in 1560 in Leipzig. He obtained his medical degree in 1588 at the University of Basel, Switzerland, and entered the court of Emperor Rudolph II.
Khunrath believed that revelation comes through the “book of Nature.” He saw the philosopher’s stone symbolized in Christ. His most important alchemical work is Amphitheatrum sapientias aeternae (“The Amphitheater of Eternal Wisdom”), printed in 1602. Khunrath never finished the manuscript.
Amphitheatrum is magical and mystical. It states that the path to understanding the mysteries of the macrocosm can be found through Christ, the Stone, and God. Khunrath gives 365 daily meditations, as well as alchemical interpretations of biblical texts, especially Proverbs, and also the Wisdom of Solomon, an apochryphal work.
One of the engravings in Amphitheatrum shows Khunrath, as an alchemist, kneeling in prayer in his laboratory. Another well-known engraving is of the emerald tablet , depicted as an engraved triangular stone topped by a flame.
Different dates and places are given for Khunrath’s death. He is said to have died in Antwerp in 1604. According to Arthur Edward Waite, he died in obscurity and poverty on September 9, 1601, in Dresden.
- Klossowski de Rola, Stanislaus. The Golden Game: Alchemical Engravings of the Seventeenth Century. New York: George Braziller, Inc., 1988.
- Waite, Arthur Edward. Alchemists Through the Ages. Blauvelt, N.Y.: Rudolph Steiner Publications, 1970.