Due to the complexity and obscurity of alchemical literature, and the eighteenth century disappearance of remaining alchemical practitioners into the area of chemistry; the general understanding of alchemy in the general public, modern practitioners, and also many historians of science, have been strongly influenced by several distinct and radically different interpretations. Hundreds of books including adulterated translations of classical alchemical literature were published throughout the early nineteenth century. Many of these continue to be reprinted today by esoteric book publishing houses, along with modern books on spiritual alchemy and poor translations of older alchemical texts. These are then used as sources by modern authors to support spiritual interpretations. Over half of the books on alchemy published since 1970 support spiritual interpretations, mostly using previously adulterated documents to support their conclusions. Many of these books continue to be taken seriously, even appearing in university bookshelves.
Esoteric interpretations of alchemy remains strong to this day, and continue to influence both the public and academic perceptions of the history of alchemy. Today, numerous esoteric alchemical groups continue to perpetuate modern interpretations of alchemy, sometimes merging in concepts from New Age or radical environmentalism movements. Rosicrucians and freemasons have a continued interest in alchemy and its symbolism.
Read more about this topic: Alchemy
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