Book ID: CBB493158049

Savant Relics: Brains and Remains of Scientists (2016)


Beretta, Marco (Editor)
Conforti, Maria (Editor)
Mazzarello, Paolo (Editor)

Science History Publications

Publication Date: 2016
Physical Details: 236 pages
Language: English

Early modern polemics against religious superstition could mislead us into believing that the healing practices associated with the body parts of saints or other figures was a feature specific to Christianity. However, such practices already existed many centuries before the Christian era, when demigod- or god-like features were attributed to secular heroes, among them natural philosophers and physicians. The polemic against relics gained momentum with the Reformation, and especially with Jean Calvin s Traité des reliques which appeared in 1543, the same year that saw the publication of two landmark scientific works in Europe, De revolutionibus orbium coelestium by Copernicus and De humani corporis fabrica by Vesalius. Notwithstanding the seemingly significant coincidence between the origins of modern astronomy and anatomy and the strongest attack yet on relics from antiquity, early modern scientific heroes became the object of cults and not the other way round. Neither science nor rationalism helped to overcome the wonder with which scientific saints were regarded; quite the contrary. Common threads running through the chapters in this volume, whose chronology spans from ancient Greece to the 21st century, are the processes of textual or material monumentalization of heroic lives and deaths, as well as the use of classical Plutarchean references to lay or scientific heroes in parallel with Christian models of sanctification to explain the supernatural powers that have been attributed to the bodies of scientists.

Reviewed By

Review Luciano Boschiero (2018) Review of "Savant Relics: Brains and Remains of Scientists". Metascience: An International Review Journal for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science (pp. 67-68). unapi

Review Fernando Vidal (2018) Review of "Savant Relics: Brains and Remains of Scientists". Early Science and Medicine: A Journal for the Study of Science, Technology and Medicine in the Pre-modern Period (pp. 285-288). unapi

Review Robert D. Hicks (2018) Review of "Savant Relics: Brains and Remains of Scientists". Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences (pp. 154-155). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Bucciantini, Massimo
Camerota, Michele
Coudert, Allison P.
Daigle, Erica Nicole
Distelzweig, Peter M.
Galilei, Galileo
Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies
Ambix: Journal of the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry
Annals of Science: The History of Science and Technology
Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Early Science and Medicine: A Journal for the Study of Science, Technology and Medicine in the Pre-modern Period
History of Science
University of Iowa
Princeton University
Cambridge University Press
Max Niemeyer Verlag
Science and religion
Natural philosophy
Science and literature
Witchcraft; demonology
Roman Catholic Church
Galilei, Galileo
Newton, Isaac
Arndt, Johann
Bruno, Giordano
Campanella, Tommaso
Copernicus, Nicolaus
Time Periods
16th century
Early modern
17th century
15th century
18th century
Great Britain
Jesuits (Society of Jesus)

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