Jacob Behmen, An Appreciation
by Alexander Whyte
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Whyte’s survey was the first review of the life and ideas of 17th century German mystic
and theologian Jacob Behmen (in German, Jakob Böhme), and to this day it remains
the most popular. As a scholar, Behmen had introduced a controversial idea to Lutheran
theology: that the Fall was a necessary step in God’s narrative for the universe. For
salvation to occur, creation must pass through fallenness, suffering, and evil. Behmen’s
work influenced some of Europe’s most famous thinkers, including John Milton
and G.W.F. Hegel. Hegel even went so far as to say that he was “the first German
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