The Organon, 5th Edition

by Samuel Hahnemann

translated by Bernhardt M. Fincke
transcribed by Dr. Maria Mackey

edited by Julian Winston

136 Pages, metal spiral bound.
ISBN 0-476-00214-1
First printing: 50 copies

This limited edition publication is available only from the publisher.

Cost: $30 US plus $10 US for air post. Cheques drawn on a US Bank are preferable. Please contact the publisher.

About the book

In 1983, I pulled a small cardboard box from the shelf of the library of the National Center for Homeopathy. I had been cataloging the collection, and I was putting books in alphabetical-by-author piles. The box was labeled "Organon by B. Fincke." I removed the large rubber-band holding it together, and opened the box. Inside was a manuscript book with its pages filled with Fincke's distinctive handwriting. It was a complete translation of the 5th edition.

I subsequently found that some of it had been published in The Journal of Homeopathics in 1889-90, but only 243 aphorisms were published before the journal ceased publication, It was again published in Kent's The Homeopathician in 1916, but that got as far as Aphorism 52 before ceasing publication.

No one has ever published the full translation.

Although we, at the present time, are very taken with Hahnemann's sixth edition, which was unpublished until 1921, this particular work by Fincke fills an interesting place in homoopathic history.

The translation we were are all used to reading was done by Robert Ellis Dudgeon, an Englishman, in 1849 (revised 1893). In 1876, Boericke and Tafel asked Conrad Wesselhoeft to do a new translation. Dr. Wesselhoeft, a homeopath from Boston, was from a German family, many of whom were homeopaths. But there have always been questions about Wesselhoeft's understanding of the depth of homeopathy. He certainly knew the language, but did he get the "meaning" that Hahnemann intended?

Bernhardt Fincke was of German birth and came to the USA in 1851. He knew Boenninghausen. He became one of the stalwarts of the International Hahnemannian Association, and was a magnificent prescriber, a maker of high potencies, and a master of homoopathic philosophy.

That HE would choose to translate The Organon tells us that he was not satisfied with the previous translations and believed that HE could bring out the nuances in Hahnemann's writing.

This incredibly potent manuscript sat until 2001 when Dr. Maria Mackey asked me about ideas for a project for her final year paper at a homeopathic college in Sydney, Australia. I mentioned that I had a copy of a never transcribed Organon in my library.

Now, after all her dedicated work, the Fincke Organon is available, unedited, 110 years after he completed the work.

The manuscript certainly needed further editing. The 1889-90 publication was a bit different than the manuscipt in this volume, and the 1916 version, while retaining the ideas, restructured the format of the work. It would have been interesting to do a literal transcripition of the manuscript which included all the strike-outs and replacements, but that would be a whole other project. This manuscript is almost a word-for-word translation and, as such, many paragraphs retain that peculiar "backward construction" of German to English translations.

When comparing a few paragraphs with the 1889-90 version (which Fincke certainly edited), I found that the final printed work often differed in small ways from the manuscript. This work, therefore, is a "rough draft" that was eventually edited before being committed to print.

The layout is simple: The left hand pages contain the aphorisms, and the right hand pages contain the footnotes.

When there were questions about words used, or sentence structure, the existing translation in the above two journals were consulted and compared.