Jean Roberti

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Jean Roberti (also Johannes) (1569—1651) was a Jesuit from Flanders who became known for his part in a medical and scientific controversy. He was also a theological writer.


He was born in Saint-Hubert and studied in Jesuit colleges at Liège and Cologne. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1592, held teaching posts, and was awarded a D.D. at Mainz. He became rector of the college at Paderborn, and died at Namur. [1] Remacle Roberti (Remaclus Robertius), an official and adviser in the Archiducal Netherlands, was his brother.[2][3]


In 1609 Roberti wrote a reply, his Brevis anatome, to a 1608 work of Rudolph Goclenius on medical astrology from a Paracelsian perspective, that had mentioned a weapon salve (a type of sympathetic magic). Roberti objected to the efficacy of the weapon salve being attributed to purely natural causes. He called the explanation of Goclenius necromantic, and a confusion of natural magic with other kinds. Goclenius replied by listing 45 kinds of "evil magic", and 24 effects that had been achieved by a magus, and could not be explained by natural causes. A pamphlet war continued; in 1621 Goclenius died, but Johannes Baptista van Helmont then published the same year his De magnetica vulnerum curatione, a severe attack on Roberti as well as critical of Goclenius who (in his opinion) had a simplistic view. The attacks of Roberti had some effects: van Helmont went through an examination by the Inquisition, and some sideblows against the Rosicrucians he made in 1618 were picked up in 1623 by Marin Mersenne and Jean Boucher.[4][5][6][7]

Mysticae Ezechielis quadrigae was a work on the four Gospels. Roberti edited the Flores epytaphii sanctorum of Theofried of Epternach, Legend of St. Hubert, and other works of hagiography.[8]


  1. ^ John Ferguson, Bibliotheca Chemica, Part 2 (2002 edition), p. 281; Google Books.
  2. ^ Gilbert Tournoy, Journal of Neo-Latin Studies (2000), p. 382; Google Books.
  3. ^ 16th century AD by Mark A. Waddell in: Canadian Journal of History, August, 2003
  4. ^ Waddell, Mark A. 2003. “The Perversion of Nature: Johannes Baptista van Helmont, the Society of Jesus, and the Magnetic Cure of Wounds.” Canadian Journal of History, 38(2): 179-197; online text.
  5. ^ Allen G. Debus, The Chemical Philosophy (1977), p. 303.
  6. ^ Lynn Thorndike, History of Magic and Experimental Science, Part 12 (2003 edition), p. 283; Google Books.
  7. ^ Anthony Grafton, Secrets of Nature: Astrology and Alchemy in Early Modern Europe (2001), pp. 276–8; Google Books.
  8. ^ Irena Dorota Backus, The Reception of the Church Fathers in the West: from the Carolingians to the Maurists, Volume 1 (1996), p. 906 note 50; Google Books.

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