Situating ciphers among alchemical techniques of secrecy
Keywords:alchemy, secrecy, cipher, Decknamen
AbstractThis paper offers a contextual framework for the historical analysis of alchemical ciphers. It argues that they differ from other ciphers due to their unique context: the alchemical tradition embodies a performative culture of secrecy, which employs a variety of techniques to achieve this performance. This paper contends that the distinction between ‘secret as content’ versus ‘secrecy as practice’ presents a useful framework for understanding alchemical rhetorics of secrecy and their relationship to alchemical cryptography. Additionally, it demonstrates how these principles can be applied in interpreting several examples.
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