(Böhme, Jakob) (1575-1624). German mystic and philosophical theologian, was born on or near April 24, 1575, in Altseidenberg, near Görlitz. After a brief time at school he became a shoemaker. In 1600 he had a mystical experience in which he claimed to have been told that “In Yes and No all things consist.” His first book, Aurora, oder Morgenröthe in Aufgang (1612) brought him into conflict with both ecclesiastical and civil authorities. He relapsed into silence for seven years and then wrote some astonishing works on theological, philosophical and devotional subjects. Although Helena P. BLAVATSKY differed with Boehme over some matters (CW IV:51 et seq.), he has been considered by many to have been a theosophist in so far as the core of his philosophy is concerned and the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1970 Ed. Vol. 21, p. 1000) describes him as “the theosophist par excellence.” He certainly plumbed the deeps of theological mysticism, in contrast to the didactic philosophies of his time. Much of his writing is concerned with reconciling the problem of a God immanent with the existence of evil. Put at its simplest, he maintained that the “Yes” “No,” good-evil, negative-positive condition of the world is because there has to be a play of opposing forces and that this is due to the essential nature of God.
He died on November 17, 1624, leaving a number of uncompleted works.
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