1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Fludd, Robert
FLUDD, or Flud, ROBERT [Robertus de Fluctibus] (1574–1637), English physician and mystical philosopher, the son of Sir Thomas Fludd, treasurer of war to Queen Elizabeth in France and the Low Countries, was born at Milgate, Kent. After studying at St John’s College, Oxford, he travelled in Europe for six years, and became acquainted with the writings of Paracelsus. He subsequently returned to Oxford, became a member of Christ Church, took his medical degrees, and ultimately became a fellow of the College of Physicians. He practised in London with success, though it is said that he combined with purely medical treatment a good deal of faith-healing. Following Paracelsus, he endeavoured to form a system of philosophy founded on the identity of physical and spiritual truth. The universe and all created things proceed from God, who is the beginning, the end and the sum of all things, and to him they will return. The act of creation is the separation of the active principle (light) from the passive (darkness) in the bosom of the divine unity (God). The universe consists of three worlds; the archetypal (God), the macrocosm (the world), the microcosm (man). Man is the world in miniature, all the parts of both sympathetically correspond and act upon each other. It is possible for man (and even for the mineral and the plant) to undergo transformation and to win immortality. Fludd’s system may be described as a materialistic pantheism, which, allegorically interpreted, he put forward as containing the real meaning of Christianity, revealed to Adam by God himself, handed down by tradition to Moses and the patriarchs, and revealed a second time by Christ. The opinions of Fludd had the honour of being refuted by Kepler, Gassendi and Mersenne. Though rapt in mystical speculation, Fludd was a man of varied attainments. He did not disdain scientific experiments, and is thought by some to be the original inventor of the barometer. He was an ardent defender of the Rosicrucians, and De Quincey considers him to have been the immediate, as J.V. Andreä was the remote, father of freemasonry. Fludd died on the 8th of September 1637.
See J. B. Craven, Robert Fludd, the English Rosicrucian (1902), where a list of his works is given; A. E. Waite, The Real History of the Rosicrucians (1887); De Quincey, The Rosicrucians and Freemasons; J. Hunt, Religious Thought in England (1870), i. 240 seq. His works were published in 6 vols., Oppenheim and Gouda, 1638.