Thesis ID: CBB001567650

Chymical Medicine, Corpuscularism, and Controversy: A Study of Daniel Sennert's Works and Letters (2014)


Klein, Joel A. (Author)

Carmichael, Ann G.
Moran, Bruce T.
Indiana University
Bertoloni Meli, Domenico
Carmichael, Ann G.
Moran, Bruce T.
Newman, William R.
Bertoloni Meli, Domenico

Publication Date: 2014
Edition Details: Advisor: Newman, William R; Committee Members: Bertoloni Meli, Domenico, Carmichael, Ann G., Moran, Bruce T.
Physical Details: 372 pp.
Language: English

This project explores the intellectual, cultural, and practical interactions among chymistry, medicine, and atomism in the early-modern German university and laboratory by focusing on chymical medicine in the works and letters of the Wittenberg professor of medicine Daniel Sennert. Sennert was an early atomist who had a major influence on Robert Boyle, was among the first to offer university chymical pedagogy, and was one of the most widely read authors on medicine and natural philosophy in the early seventeenth century, but much of his chymico-medical oeuvre remains neglected. Sennert envisioned a major reform of Galenist pathology and pharmacy founded upon experience, atomism, a redefinition of chymistry, and a new understanding of the material principles of nature. This reform was associated with a serious interest in chymical medicines, among which were nearly-universal noble metallic remedies as well as cathartic medicines thought to purge the body in multiple ways. That Sennert's reform of medicine was perceived as radical is apparent from the several controversies to which it led, including an extended dispute with Groningen professor Johann Freitag, in which Sennert was accused of blasphemy and heresy. Several of Sennert's chymical and chymico-medical experiments shed new light on this controversy and develop notions of experience and credulity in early-modern natural philosophy. Sennert pursued chymical medicines and carried out numerous experimental trials both via a collaborative epistolary exchange with his brother-in-law, Michael Döring, and with students in his "chymical college." The conceptualization of these remedies within rational medicine was a major part of his effort to locate a via media between iconoclastic Paracelsian chymists and traditionalist Galenists and Aristotelians. Likewise, Sennert drew from Lutheranism and literary humanism to style himself an incredulous observer of nature, but also to develop a conception of the public good in opposition to secretive empirics and charlatans during the unrest of the Thirty Years' War. By historicizing the generation and transmission of chymico-medical knowledge and experience in the early Republic of Letters, this project suggests that Sennert was not simply a reformer who developed concepts integral to later chymistry, but anticipated important values and ideals of later scientific discourse.


Description Cited in Dissertation Abstracts International-A 75/11(E), May 2015. Proquest Document ID: 1560892481.

Citation URI

Similar Citations

Article Hiro Hirai; (2021)
Daniel Sennert, Chymistry, and Theological Debates (/isis/citation/CBB126568830/)

Article Giancarlo Zanier; (2004)
La presenza di Patrizi nella filosofia naturale di Daniel Sennert (/isis/citation/CBB013691400/)

Article Lüthy, Christoph Herbert; (2005)
Daniel Sennert's Slow Conversion from Hylemorphism to Atomism (/isis/citation/CBB001024435/)

Article Klein, Joel A.; (2014)
Corporeal Elements and Principles in the Learned German Chymical Tradition (/isis/citation/CBB001421638/)

Article Newman, William R.; (2009)
The Significance of “Chymical Atomism” (/isis/citation/CBB000932579/)

Article Hirai, Hiro; (2007)
Atomes vivants, origine de l'âme et génération spontanée chez Daniel Sennert (/isis/citation/CBB001031731/)

Chapter Michael, Emily; (2001)
Sennert's Sea Change: Atoms and Causes (/isis/citation/CBB000401075/)

Article Antonio Clericuzio; (2018)
Gassendi and the English Mechanical Philosophers (/isis/citation/CBB990799390/)

Book Luthy, Christoph; Murdoch, John E.; Newman, William R.; (2001)
Late Medieval and Early Modern Corpuscular Matter Theories (/isis/citation/CBB000100046/)

Article Gregorio Baldin; (2018)
Points, Atoms and Rays of Light: History of a Controversy from Mersenne to Hobbes (/isis/citation/CBB119606416/)

Article Blank, Andreas; (2011)
Daniel Sennert on Poisons, Epilepsy, and Subordinate Forms (/isis/citation/CBB001034591/)

Article Mordechai Feingold; (2016)
“Experimental Philosophy”: Invention and Rebirth of a Seventeenth-Century Concept (/isis/citation/CBB091437409/)

Chapter Blank, Andreas; (2011)
Sennert and Leibniz on Animate Atoms (/isis/citation/CBB001500215/)

Chapter Hirai, Hiro; (2012)
Living Atoms, Hylomorphism and Spontaneous Generation in Daniel Sennert (/isis/citation/CBB001213677/)

Book Avramov, Iordan; Hunter, Michael; Yoshimoto, Hideyuki; (2010)
Boyle's Books: The Evidence of His Citations (/isis/citation/CBB001200537/)

Article Lyke de Vries; (2022)
Protecting Academia and Religion: Andreas Libavius’s Criticism of a General Reformation (/isis/citation/CBB629444913/)

Chapter Arthur, Richard T. W.; (2006)
Animal Generation and Substance in Sennert and Leibniz (/isis/citation/CBB000771976/)

Authors & Contributors
Hirai, Hiro
Lüthy, Christoph H.
Newman, William Royall
Murdoch, John Emery
Clericuzio, Antonio
Blank, Andreas
Ambix: Journal of the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry
Early Science and Medicine: A Journal for the Study of Science, Technology and Medicine in the Pre-modern Period
Bruniana & Campanelliana: Ricerche Filosofiche e Materiali Storico-testuali
Galilæana: Journal of Galilean Studies
Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal
Perspectives on Science
The Robert Boyle Project
Natural philosophy
Matter theory
Sennert, Daniel
Boyle, Robert
Bacon, Francis, 1st Baron Verulam
Patrizi, Francesco
Gassendi, Pierre
Locke, John
Time Periods
17th century
16th century
Early modern
15th century
Royal Society of London

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment