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ELIXIR (from the Arabic al-iksir, pro...

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Originally appearing in Volume V09, Page 282 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ELIXIR (from the Arabic al-iksir, probably an adaptation of the Gr. Eilpiov, a powder used for drying wounds, from Opbs, dry), in alchemy, the medium which would effect the transmutation of base metals into gold; it probably included all such substances—vapours, liquids, &c.—and had a wider meaning than " philosopher's stone." The same term, more fully elixir R. V. marg. is an alteration to remove from Elisha the suggestion of an untruth. The Gilgal of Elisha is near the Jordan—comp. vi. I with iv. 38, rut, e'irv,—and cannot be other than the great sanctuary 2 M. from Jericho, the local holiness of which is still attested in the Onomastica. It is true that in 2 Kings ii. I Bethel seems to lie between Gilgal and Jericho; but v. 25 shows that Gilgal was not originally represented as Elisha's residence in this narrative, which belongs to the Carmel-Dothan series. On the other hand, for the identification with the Gilgal (Jiljilia) S.W. of Shiloh, see G. A. Smith, Ency. Bib. (s.v. Gilgal); Burney, op. cit., p. 264; Skinner, Century Bible: Kings, p. 278. vitae, elixir of life, was given to the substance which would indefinitely prolong life; it was considered to be closely related to, or even identical with, the substance for transmuting metals. In pharmacy the word was formerly given to a strong extract or tincture, but it is only used now for an aromatic sweet preparation, containing one or more drugs, and in such expressions as " elixir of vitriol," a mixture of sulphuric acid, cinnamon, ginger and alcohol.
End of Article: ELIXIR (from the Arabic al-iksir, probably an adaptation of the Gr. Eilpiov, a powder used for drying wounds, from Opbs, dry)
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