The Middle Dutch manuscript Vienna ÖNB 2374, dating from the latter half of the fourteenth century, contains, amongst others, a translation of Liber secretorum alchimie , a thirteenth-century (would-be) academic tractate in which alchemy is studied from an Aristotelian perspective. The Dutch prose translation has been extended with four passages in verse and a prologue. The Middle Dutch author of the prologue and the rhymed additions calls himself a 'hermit in the service of Lady Alchemy', belonging to 'those who guard the underground orchard'. More than once the author of the interpolations addresses his companions, some of whom must habe been clerics. The interpolations deal with (1) distillation and 'profound' transformation, (2) Plato's view of the soul, (3) the decline of the world caused by blindness for Lady Alchemy's solutions to poverty and death and (4) with the epistemological difference between Jewish manna and Christian flesh.
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