By Emile Dantinne ( Sar Hieronymus)
Originally published in the review "Inconnues" 1951
Sar Hieronymus

In reality does it not suggest a totally different school? It is necessary to note that the word university or college corresponds to the arabic noun madrasat. The author of a History of Lebanon refers to the madrasat-ul-hûqûqi fi Bayrût, which means the University of Law in Beirut7.

The word Damcar therefore remains quite mysterious. I have in vain consulted dictionaries by Lane, Kazimirski, Richardson, Wahrmund, Zenker, Belot, Houwa, the Supplement aux dictionnaires arabes by Dozy, the Additions aux dictionnaires arabes by Fagnan, the Enzyklopädie des Islam and the Geschichte der Arabischen Literatur by Brocklemann. DMCR is not an arabic root.

And yet Damcar doesn't seem so far from Jerusalem. It is there that he strengthened his foundation in the Arabic language that the following year he translated the Book M into good Latin 8.

It is sufficiently difficult to know what the author intended by Book M. Perhaps it suggests a translation of a lost book by Aristotle, bearing this title, but it hardly seems probable. Since the Fama cites other books by means of a letter, one can induce that the initials in question correspond to the categorization Chr. Rosenkreutz made for the books which he translated from Arabic.

After three years of study in which he especially concentrated on medicine and mathematics, he embarked from the Sinu Arabico for Egypt, where he applied his attention to plants and animals.

He doesn't seem to have been in Egypt for very long , when as he states, he embarked for the destination of Fez. What he says here is worth remembering: " Every year the Arabs and Africans send their chosen deputies to meet to question each other on the subject of the Arts and to know whether something better hasn't been discovered, or if experience hasn't weakened their basic principles. Therefore every year sees something new which improves mathematics, medicine, and magic9." But he recognized that "their magic was not altogther pure and their Kabbalah is defiled by their religion"N10.

The Sages whom he meets in Fez are in periodic and regular contact with those of other Islamic countries. The "Elementaries", that is to say those who study the elements, revealed many of their secrets to him11.
Fez was at the time a center of philosophical and occultist studies: some taught there were the alchemy of Abu-Abdallah, Gabir ben Hayan, and the Imam Jafar al Sadiq, the astrology and magic of Ali-ash-Shabramallishi, the esoteric science of Abdarrahman ben Abdallah al Iskari. These studies flourished from the time of the Omayyads12.

The fact that secrets are suggested indicates without any doubt that they formed the teachings of secret societies. It doesn't at all suggest the Sabeans, an essentially heterodox society which represented a survival of paganism. One is inclined to believe that Chr. Rosenkreutz had found his secrets amongst the Brethren of Purity, a society of philosophers which had formed in Basra in the first half of the fourth century after the Hejira (622 ) which, without being orthodox , interpreted the dogmas and applied itself seriously to scientific research. Their doctrine which had its source in the study of the ancient Greek philosophers, became more pronounced in a neo-pythagorean direction13. They took from the Pythagorean tradition the habit of envisaging things under their numeric aspect.

Their interpretation of dogma remained a secret from society due to its heterodox nature.
For example, on the subject of resurrection, they explained that the word resurrection (qiyamah) is derived from subsistence (qiyam ) and when the soul leaves the body it subsists by its essence , and it is this which resurrection actually consists.

The Brethren of Purity had in each locality a meeting place where non-members were excluded, and where they could discuss their secrets together. They would mutually help each other "like the hand and foot work together for the body."

There were various degrees in the order: masters of crafts, governors or pastors of the brothers, the degree of sultan which represented legislative power, and finally the supreme degree, named the royal degree which conferred a state of vision or revelation like the one attained at death.
The secret part of the teaching was on the subject of theurgy: the divine and angelic names, conjurations, the Kabbalah, exorcisms etc...14

The Brethren of Purity differed from the Sufis but they were united in many points of doctrine. They were both mystical orders deriving from Koranic theology. The dogma is supplanted by faith in the Divine Reality15.