Chronology of his life    



Jacob Böhme (1575 to 1624) was a mystic. A shoemaker by profession he had no access to academic education, and he acquired the knowledge of his time autodidactically. He left behind an extensive philosophical-religious work, which has made him famous far beyond the German-speaking world. Since he wrote his meditations exclusively in the German language rather than Latin - he is considered the "Philosophus Teutonicus", the first German philosopher.

Böhme had to defend his writing before church and state. To him, his writings and his ideas seemed to be religiously justified, and so he experienced the contents of his thoughts and visions like divine inspiration in that the Holy Spirit "broke through" in him. In his first book, "The Dawn at Rise" or “Aurora” from 1612, he describes this spiritual experience of liberation:

“But when in this affliction and trouble I elevated my spirit (for I then understood very little or not at all what it was), I earnestly raised it up into God, as with a great storm or onset, wrapping up my whole heart and mind, as also all my thoughts and whole will and resolution, incessantly to wrestle with the love and mercy of God, and not to give over, until he blessed me, that is, until he enlightened me with his holy spirit, whereby I might understand his will, and be rid of my sadness. And then the spirit did break through.”

“But when, in my resolved zeal, I gave so hard an assault, storm and onset upon God, and upon all the gates of hell, as if I had more reserves of virtue and power ready, with a resolution to hazard my life upon it, (which assuredly were not in my ability without the assistance of the spirit of God), suddenly, after some violent storms made, my spirit did break through the gates of hell, even into the innermost birth or geniture of the Deity, and there I was embraced with love, as a bridegroom embraceth his dearly beloved bride.”

“But the greatness of the triumphing that was in the spirit I cannot express, either in speaking or writing; neither can it be compared to anything, but to that wherein the life is generated in the midst of death, and it is like the resurrection from the dead.”

(Aurora or Dawn at the Rise, Chap. 19, 10-12)