"as old as Paracelsus"
Public DomainParacelsus - Credit: Quentin Massys

Paracelsus is the more memorable alias of Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim (1493-1541), a German-Swiss astrologer, physician, botanist and alchemist. His key idea was that health depended on a harmonious relationship between man the microcosm and nature the macrocosm. This was a radical departure from the received idea that it was governed by the four humors and introduced the idea that disease could be effected by external agents. Paracelsus’s motto was “Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest” (“Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself”), making him a highly apt point of reference for Chillingworth.