Jacob Böhme (1575-1624)

  • Nature as teacher

    At the age of twenty-five, the Görlitz master cobbler Jacob Böhme had an experience in his workshop which changed his life. Looking back at it he said that in a quarter of an hour he had seen and recognised more than if he had spent years in universities.

    Böhme's mystical experience represents the overcoming of a deep psychological crisis. His struggle with “God's love and mercy” led to the revelation which enabled him to recognise God in all things, “even in herbs and grass”. Not in the Holy Book alone are the wisdom and power of the creator revealed; they can also be found in the green, flowering meadow.

    The interaction of knowledge of God and knowledge of nature also applies for humans as God's creations. Through self-examination, humans discover that they are beings who carry light as well as darkness within themselves. Humans alone bear the responsibility for overcoming all the darkness and evil they carry. This is a sign of their free will and of the fact that they have been created in the image of God.

    Böhme's writings were rejected by the Lutheran Orthodox clergy. But his posthumous reputation was great: in the 17th century, Böhme was the most successful German writer in the world.