Zurich Paracelsus Project

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Sudhoff Edition of Paracelsus


Karl Sudhoff (1853-1938)

The research on Paracelsus is very much indebted to Karl Sudhoff, the late Leipzig professor of the history of medicine. With his comprehensive "Versuch einer Kritik der Echtheit der Paracelsischen Schriften" in two volumes (1894, 1898), in which he described both the Paracelsian prints and manuscripts, he had laid down a solid foundation for future Paracelsus studies which remains important to the present day. In his later years, it was his strong wish to put forward a new edition of Paracelsus's works. To a great extent, Sudhoff resorted to the Huser edition, adding only minor writings and letters unkwown to Huser. In trying to simplify the early modern German spelling, he introduced a rather self-willed spelling which often leads to ambiguities. Furthermore, Sudhoff tried to rearrange the writings as given by Huser in order to attain a chronological sequence. However, this attempt appears rather artificial, since for the better part of Paracelsus's works an exact dating is impossible. Sudhoff implemented only sparse textual criticism and no explanatory notes. Notwithstanding these shortcomings, up to now the Sudhoff edition remained the most important presentation of Paracelsus's natural philosophic and medical works