Schuh’s Annotated Bio-Bibliography

Return to main Biobliography page

CLAVE, Étienne de.

(1600? – )

French physician, chemist & philosopher.

Biographical references: Biographie Universelle. Ferchl: p. 98. Ferguson, Bibliotheca Chemica, 1906: 1, 162. Jöcher, Gelehrten-Lexikon, 1750-51: 1, 1943. LKG: 283. Nouvelle Biographie Générale (Hoefer). Partington, History of Chemistry, 1961-70: 3, 7-8. Thorndike, History of Magic, 1923-58: 7, 192 & 8 121. Watt, Bibliotheca Britannica, 1824.

Paradoxes, 1635

1. French, 1635.
Paradoxes, | Ov | Traittez | Philosophiqves | Des Pierres | Et Pierreries, | contre l'opinion vulgaire. | Ausquels sont demonstrez la matiere, la cause | efficiente externe, la semence, la generation, | la definition, & la nutrition d'icelles. | Ensemble la generation de tous les mixtes, sçauoir est | des animaux, vegetaux, & mineraux, ous foßiles. | Par Estien-ne De Clave, Docteur | en Medecine. | [ornament] | A Paris, | Chez la veusue Pierre Chevalier, | ruë S. Iacques, à l'Image S. Pierre, | proche les Mathurins. | [rule] | M. DC. XXXV. | Auec Approbation, & Priuilege.

8°: [24], [1]-492, [2] p., plate. Errata: p. [493].

Rare. The literary tool of writing philosophical essays as a paradox was a great success in the sixteenth century. De Clave's Paradoxes, ou Traitez Philosophiques der Pierres et Pierreries follows this tradition. Within this mineralogical work, the nature of precious stones and minerals and the definition of their formation are discussed, much as De Boodt wrote in his classic tome.

In the foreword to the work, de Clave outlines an ambitious goal of the book, which was to write forty treatises outlining the fruits of over thirty years of research. However, only the two books contained in the Paradoxes were ever published. The first of these in 18 chapters discusses the opinions of previous researchers on the definitions of stones, their material cause (chap. iii-x) and their efficient cause (chap. xi-xviii). Here the principle authorities are Aristotle, Theophrastus, Avicenne, Albertus Magnus, Agricola Gabriel Fallopio, Jules-César Scaliger and Girolamo Cardano, which reflects the importance as well as the tradition of Aristotelian philosophy in the mineralogical science of the time. De Clave however attacks their opinions on the formation of stones and metals. The second book in 28 chapters describes the generation (chap. iii-viii), the seeds (chap. xi-xvii), the definition (chap. xx-xxiv) and the nutrition (chap. xxv-xxviii) of stones. At this time it was popular to believe that stones formed from seeds, much as plants, found in the earth.

Bibliographical references: BL [990.b.1.]. Gatterer, Mineralogischen Literatur, 1798-9: 2, 7. LKG: XVI 84. Sinkankas, Gemology Bibliography, 1993 [no copy listed]. Ward & Carozzi, Geology Emerging, 1984: no. 491. Wellcome Catalog (Books): 1, no. 1494.