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  • Anthropologia:An (Almost) Forgotten Early Modern History

Approximately thirty almost entirely overlooked books appeared in Europe between 1500 and 1700 that include the word anthropologia in their titles. At first glance, the content of these works bears no resemblance to anthropology as we think of it. They present a combination of medieval traditions, cutting-edge medical practices, and evolving natural philosophical and theological systems found in universities of all confessions across Europe. But these largely overlooked sources reveal that the disciplines we use to study ourselves may have developed from an intertwined natural philosophical and religious system. They suggest that anthropology's typical origin narrative should be reconsidered.


Antholpologia, theology, natural philosophy, medicine, Daniel Sennert, Philip Melanchthon, Johannes Magirus, anatomy, anthropology

A physician must study anthropology? Surely most twenty-first century medical students would find such a recommendation to be impractical. Yet Daniel Sennert, one of early modern Europe's most influential medical professors, suggested just this to aspiring physicians in Wittenberg. In "Methodus discendi medicinam," published posthumously with selections from each of his major works, Sennert outlined the utility of mastering languages and the liberal arts before he considered what students of natural philosophy and medicine should study in detail. Sennert minced no words: "In the first place, the zealous [student] of medicine should early on acquire for himself knowledge of anthropologia and materia medica." Physicians must comprehend "what might be the use of the individual parts and what actions the human soul brings about through individual parts [of the body] and how."1 This they would learn from anthropologia. Students could master it through books and charts and "more diligently reading" structural [End Page 1] and functional anatomy. Though he referred to Vesalius, Riolan, Bauhin, and "others writing in this genre," Sennert's mention of the "faculties of the soul and operations depending on these" suggests his fidelity to the commentary tradition on Aristotle's De anima, part of basic education for students across Europe. As in most institutions of higher learning, it under-girded education at his university in Wittenberg, the heart of Lutheran Europe. Here, Sennert was conventional. Indeed, as Nancy Siraisi notes, medieval physicians thought "All masters learned in theoretical medicine had to be familiar with current philosophical doctrines concerning the soul, since the soul was held to affect the body."2 Yet Sennert's word—anthropologia, or "anthropology"—does not seem to come directly from the medieval tradition, nor does it align with our contemporary definition of "anthropology." In referencing anthropologia, Sennert adverted to a now-overlooked cross-disciplinary field of inquiry that encompassed questions about human beings and human nature in natural philosophy, medicine, and theology.


Sennert's advocacy of anthropologia was not the freakish eccentricity of a subtle mind that attempted to harmonize Galen and Paracelsus with [End Page 2] Aristotle and atomism in complex ways.3 The subtitle of Institutiones anatomicae, a popular seventeenth-century anatomy textbook by Sennert's coreligionist and medical colleague Caspar Bartholin, promised readers "many new observations and opinions, and the decisions in the most celebrated debates that come up in anthropologia." When first published in 1611, the textbook was known less for originality than for the clarity with which it summed up the field. Bartholin's son Thomas revised the text in 1641 to reflect William Harvey's seminal work on the circulation of blood, and then it went through multiple printings by 1686, including Latin, French, Italian, English, German, and Dutch editions. Lest anyone should wonder, Bartholin's first sentence encapsulated the field: "Anthropology, or the doctrine of the human person, is commonly yet correctly separated into twin parts: Anatomy, which treats the body and its parts, and psychology, which [treats] the soul."4

That anthropologia was a scholarly trend during Bartholin and Sennert's time has largely escaped the attention of historians, who typically point to the outpouring of anthropologia-related books starting in the eighteenth century. But at least thirty-two books with anthropologia in the title appeared across Europe between 1500 and 1700. In Lutheran circles, such books poured off the presses in the early seventeenth century. These reflected the tradition of commentaries on Aristotle, the anatomical revolution, and the influence of inter- and intra-confessional polemics.5 An introductory list includes Johannes Magirus, Anthropologia (1603); Sigismund Evenius, Anthropologia, (1613); Balthasar Meisner, Anthropologias sacrae, [End Page 3] decas I–III, (1619–25); Georg Friedrich Blintzig, Antropologia: hoc est problematum moralium de homine ethico, decas I–IV (1623), and Johannes Sperling, Anthropologica physica (1637). Inspired by sola scriptura and the widespread inclination to derive knowledge from the Bible, one theologian presided over a 1618 disputation adducing an "Anthropologia Mosaica" from Genesis. Bartholin, an indefatigable author, did the same in the Manuductio ad psychologiam veram adeoque anthropologiam ex sacris literis exstruendam appended to his Systema physicum.6 Natural philosophers, physicians, and theologians produced anthropologia texts in ways consonant with their specialties, but all reflect the two-fold nature of the project as the study of body and soul.

While anthropologia seems the esoteric stuff of dusty tomes, its concerns were at the heart of early modern intellectual culture. Renaissance humanism encouraged various approaches to describing the powers and dignity of bodies, souls, and persons, from the Neoplatonic revival to Pomponazzi's famous claims about the impossibility of proving the existence of an immortal soul by reason.7 As Christianity splintered into rival confessions, interest in topics that anthropologia treated stretched across confessional lines. Each confession framed a distinct theological anthropology that distinguished it from others. In so doing, the relationship that Christian confessions articulated between theology and philosophy played a key role in the development of the field. Luther assailed Aristotle in trademark purple prose; later Lutherans re-embraced Aristotle. Reformed thinkers constructed an increasingly elaborate systematic and scholastic theology after Calvin took up the topic of human abilities (and, more famously, inabilities) in the Institutes in ways that inspired generations of debate. In Coimbra, Jesuits, including one who would prove a formative influence on [End Page 4] Lutheranism, Francisco Suárez, produced thousands of pages of dense neo-scholastic Aristotelian natural philosophy and theology.8

Across Europe, medical teaching was in flux, in part thanks to the humanist revival of Galen and Hippocrates, followed by new challenges to old medical authorities. In Catholic Padua, anatomy and medicine blossomed in the shadow and then wake of Vesalius, before Reformed Leiden took the lead in the seventeenth century. As anatomy developed, illustrators competed to produce the most accurate and detailed depictions of human bodies. This paralleled and encouraged moves among artists. In an age of self-portraiture, masters worked to create ever more realistic depictions of themselves.9

The inclusion of topics from anthropologia in encyclopedias and textbooks shows that early modern thinkers regarded it as part of basic knowledge. Written for young students, Gregor Reisch's Margarita philosophica (1503) covered anatomy and included extensive discussion of vegetative, sensitive, and rational souls. Other early encyclopedias had different goals and outlines, but also included anthropological topics. The Catholic humanist and pedagogue Joachim Sterck van Ringelbergh overviewed fundamentals in the liberal arts, including a lengthy section entitled "De homine" in his 1538 Lucubrationes vel potius absolutissima kyklopaideia. The Lutheran Paul Skalich's Encyclopaedia seu orbis disciplinarum tam sacrarum quam prophanarum epistemon (1559) aimed polemic at Catholics, but after sketching universal knowledge in a mere 100 pages, his second chapter on the soul stretched 70 pages, a considerable foray for a quarto-sized book. The Reformed thinker Johann Friedrich Alsted adopted the term anthropologia, under the classification of physica, in the section of his famous seventeenth-century encyclopedia devoted to theoretical philosophy. Breaking it down further, under the study of living animals (zoologia), Alsted listed two sub-fields. The first he termed therologia, the study of non-human animals, while the second, anthropologia referred to the study of human beings, including the body and faculties of vegetative and sensitive souls. He included psychologia (referring to study of the rational soul) [End Page 5] in multiple places, though all within portions of the text on theoretical, not practical, philosophy.10

The widespread interest in describing and defining human beings stretched across borders, confessions, philosophical schools, and disciplines. The wide range of disciplines and terms that touched on topics anthropologia covered indicate how much it mattered. These include psychologia, somatologia, anatomia, de natura humana, de homine, and imago Dei. Early modern thinkers saw all these studies and concepts as intertwined, reflecting a unified reality of which human and bodies and souls were a part. Furthermore, anthropologia had serious consequences. As shown below, Sennert himself discovered the risk of combining natural philosophical and medical speculation on human bodies and souls. Anthropologia encompassed tricky theological territory.

Recovering this overlooked word and field can give new insight into early modern thought about human beings, and engage debates that animate early modern historians about the relationship of science and religion. Exploring how sixteenth- and seventeenth-century thinkers developed and defined anthropologia can raise questions about under-explored connections between it and later anthropology. As we retrieve anthropologia from obscurity, we are reminded that reading our own definitions into the past causes us to misunderstand how it influences the present.


Unsurprisingly, the original use of the word anthropologia is hard to pinpoint, but several works appearing over the course of the sixteenth century offer insight into its early and varied meanings. It remains unclear why anthropologia began to be used in these ways in the course of centuries-long discussion of bodies and souls stretching from pre-Socratics through scholastics, and given the long tradition of travel narratives and histories highlighting cultural differences, with reference to Herodotus's famous depictions of non-Greek peoples, as well as Hippocrates's explanation of [End Page 6] the influence of geography on culture and habits in Airs, Waters, Places. Two early appearances of the word anthropologia in print signal the ways it came to denote topics that had long inspired interest.

Magnus Hundt's Antropologium (1501) is regarded as the first use of the term in print. The Leipzig gymnasium instructor mixed both physiological and psychological ideas in the title almost exactly as Sennert and Bartholin would later define it: Anthropology, on the Dignity, Nature and Powers of a Human Being [and] the Elements, Parts, and Members of the Human Body.11 Shortly thereafter, Raffaele Maffei used the term as the title of the second book in his influential and encyclopedic Commentarii urbani (1506). Instead of a disquisition on body and soul, Maffei offered a vivid account of history from biblical antiquity to the present under the heading Anthropologia.12

The term became more common in following decades, and can be found in works across the European continent. Its definition apparently remained unsettled; these works reflect both Hundt's and Maffei's different uses of the word. Following Maffei, in Italy, Galeazzo Capella arranged his Anthropologia (1533) as a classic humanist dialogue in three parts, treating respectively the dignity of human beings, the excellence of women, and the miseries of both sexes.13 In France, the theologian Robert Ceneau offered a detailed description of the inhabitants of his country, dubbed an "anthropology," in the first volume of History of Gaul Divided into Two Volumes (1557).14 The Englishman Richard Harvey's Philadelphus, or a Defence of Brutes, and the Brutans History (1593) similarly termed the study of history and cultural customs "anthropology."15

Hundt's usage endured, and it ultimately dominated. A 1592 anthropologia published in Leipzig promised to explain human "affections" (tied [End Page 7] to the body) succinctly.16 More significantly, the Reformed philosopher Otto Casmann employed Hundt's usage in his major two-volume work Psychological Anthropology, or the Doctrine of the Human Soul (1594), followed up two years later by a book on anatomy, titled (so no one could be confused), Second Part of Anthropology, Which is, the Fabric of the Human Body (1596).17 Casmann's typical scholarly cribbing of Vesalius's title for his own book indicates the significance of the anatomical revolution for anthropologia's development.

From the 1590s, use of the term anthropologia exploded. Until the end of the seventeenth century, it was primarily, though not exclusively, used in the way that Hundt, Sennert, and Bartholin employed it, as a study of human bodies and souls in medicine, natural philosophy, and theology. Usages like Maffei's and Ceneau's dwindled. In 1655 an anonymous Anthropologie Abstracted in London summed up the field in the first paragraph as "the History of Human Nature, [which] is, in the Vulgar (yet just) impression, distinguished into two Volumes; The First entitled Psychologie, the Nature of the Rationall Soule Discoursed: the Other Anatomie, the Fab-rick or structure of the body of man revealed in dissection.18 Even as this definition solidified, some quibbled. The Calvinist Clemens Timpler testily charged that dividing anthropology into psychology and somatology/anatomy betrayed the unity of body and soul and ceded the entire study to dualism.19

Having noted the early and varied uses of the term, and increasing consensus that anthropologia referred to studies of body and soul, a look at the contents of some texts can reveal intellectual impulses that shaped it, as well as foreshadow its consequences.


As should be clear, Lutherans were not the only authors of anthropologia texts. Yet, publications with that word in the title in the first three decades [End Page 8] of the seventeenth century came overwhelmingly from Lutheran circles. A case study of their anthropologia texts reveals the confluence of religious, medical, and philosophical interests that formed the discipline.

First, Reformation polemics and the splintering of early modern Christianity into different confessions centered on many theological anthropological issues: what a human being is, what powers she has, and the extent to which sin damages body and soul. Disputes about these matters divided confessions from one another and caused heated debates within each confession beginning in the 1520s. The Council of Trent's pronouncements on justification did not resolve all questions about human will and divine grace for Catholics; debates about the respective views of Michael Baius and Luis de Molina foreshadowed debates between Jansenists and Jesuits. Calvinists, for their part, bickered over fundamental tenets of election and reprobation at the Synod of Dort. Meanwhile, as Robert Kolb argues, the apparently intractable and esoteric divisions between Philippists and Gnesio-Lutherans after Melanchthon "arose because each party was driven by different concerns, which … projected a different light on questions of theological anthropology, psychology, and ethics."20

Second, and closely related, Protestant theologians—Lutheran and Reformed—re-incorporated Aristotelian philosophy as it became obvious that rebutting Catholic polemicists—above all Robert Bellarmine and the Jesuits—required understanding philosophy and the ability to critique or reconcile it with their own distinctive theologies. Walter Sparn long ago demonstrated that Lutherans re-embraced traditional metaphysics and attempted to fuse it with theology. This seemed the only way to address the perplexing questions raised by inter-confessional polemics and developments in natural philosophy.21 It was insufficient to proclaim "sola scriptura" and "sola gratia" and just say it louder whenever a Catholic was unconvinced.

Finally, although anthropologia grew out of complex theology and Aristotelian metaphysics, it was not scholasticism redivivus. Humanism powerfully shaped it, beyond providing an impetus for studying human [End Page 9] beings. Anthropologia texts are littered with Greek and Latin citations from ancient authorities, Christian and non-Christian. Authors attempted to reconcile these with critical appraisal of recent developments in natural philosophy and theology.

Philip Melanchthon's work first explored topics that later animated Lutheran anthropologia texts.22 The heavily Aristotelian content of anthropologia bears witness to his efforts to blend humanist scholarship, antique philosophy, and Lutheran theology.23 His natural philosophical program centered on his commentaries on Aristotle's De anima, which combined speculation on the soul with descriptions of the body reflecting the anatomy and medicine of the day. In the first, Melanchthon drew upon Galen, devoting over one-third of the text to outlining Galenic anatomy and melding it with the Aristotelian tripartite division of the soul. In his second book, Melanchthon endeavored to unite his philosophical and theological thought with Vesalius's revolutionary De humani corporis fabrica (1543).24

In the preface to Liber de anima (1552), Melanchthon explained these efforts in words that Bartholin or Sennert could have written: "For certainly the powers of the soul could not be discerned unless their locations or machines in the body of man are shown in some way."25 Because anatomy provided insight into the structure of the body and functions of the soul, it was useful for theology and philosophy, including ethics. In this way one could understand the full extent of the Fall's consequences and the wonder of justification. Melanchthon's willingness to tie philosophy and theology to empirical observation and medical authorities like Galen and Vesalius hints at the goals of anatomy in Wittenberg.

Vivian Nutton argued that "Wittenberg anatomy" was less concerned [End Page 10] with discoveries than with edification.26 Anatomy in Wittenberg was primarily book-based, made popular by a series of anatomical woodcut broadsheets that circulated widely.27 Learning anatomy aimed first to reveal God's providential design and care. Second, it revealed "how the mind or soul could go wrong." Malfunctioning bodies provided evidence of disturbed souls, while immoral souls in turn affected the condition of the body: "sin had a physical effect, corrupting both soul and brain and preventing them from functioning as well as they ought."28 And vice versa: a healthy body indicated a soul in good order.

Treatises on parts of the body illustrated in detail the marvelous design and ideal functioning of organs, while tying them to theological truths. Johannes Mathesius the younger wrote on ears and hearing—an ironically ideal topic for the son of one of second-generation Lutheranism's most popular preachers. Melanchthon's student David Chytraeus wove encomiums to body organs and the truths they demonstrated into his introduction to natural philosophy. For example, he claimed that the windpipe is connected to the heart, so we might better praise God for the love He pours into our hearts.29

The body also demonstrated negative truths. The Lutheran clergyman Christoph Irenaeus, reflecting the extreme view of original sin among the followers of Matthias Flacius Illyricus, labored to explain the dire consequences of sin on the body, even arguing that defecation would not be so malodorous were it not for sin.30 Jakob Horst, professor of medicine at Helmstedt, suggested that seeing the navel should provoke gratitude to God [End Page 11] as a physical reminder of "[h]ow wonderfully God at first provided, nourished, and preserved us with body, life, and soul through our parents by motherly love," while also ruing the fact that the liver cannot process food and produce blood as well as it might because sin corrupted the proper functioning of the organ.31

Caspar Peucer reveals the intellectual grounding for these texts. The prolific Peucer's most successful work was Commentarius de praecipuis divinationum generibus, first published in 1553, but revised and expanded multiple times until his death.32 There, Peucer delineated two types of divination: first, that which was unacceptable for Christians to practice because it was magical or superstitious; and second, divination centered on ascertaining the structure and working of nature, thereby leading to knowledge of God. Under the latter, he included one chapter on interpreting Galenic indicators of health, and another on physiognomy. According to Peucer, physiognomy revealed a variety of things about an individual's internal state. Studying external bodily characteristics could disclose a person's internal affections and morals as well as motivations for action.33 Here, Peucer was in line with his contemporary Giambattista della Porta, who drew on a tradition of thought hailing from the pseudo-Aristotelian Physiognomonica to discuss deciphering signs in human bodies in De humana physiognomonia libri IIII (1586). (Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century physiognomists like Johann Kaspar Lavater picked up on this tradition).34 This tight connection between a theological reading of nature, natural philosophy, medicine, and the body set anthropologia apart as a field of study. [End Page 12]

The tendency to read the body for the way it manifested moral or spiritual truths was not restricted to Lutherans. It could also take some (seemingly) amusing turns, such as the ascription of religious differences to discrepancies in "wit," directly related to bodily temperament and humoral levels as seen in the Spanish physician Juan Huarte de San Juan's Examen de ingenious para las ciencias. His work circulated in fifteen Spanish, twenty-six French, six Italian, five English, one Dutch, and three Latin editions that were read widely by the lettered in Europe and condemned by the Inquisition.35 He attributed the divide between Catholic dominance in southern Europe and Protestant success in the north to differences in the powers of understanding and memory, a result of humors and temperament. Spaniards had better understanding, thus truer religion, but were poor homilists because they had bad memories. But, among northern Europeans, good memory produced better sermons—which were pointless due to bad understanding. The similarity between this line of thought and Montesquieu's Essai sur les causes qui peuvent affecter les espirits et les caractères a century and a half later is striking. The French philosopher and jurist argued that the effects of warm or cold climate on nerve fibers made inhabitants more or less prone to Catholicism or Protestantism.36

These authors all wrote in the second half of the sixteenth century, just before the production of anthropologia texts began to pick up. They all believed that the body manifested religious and moral truths that could be discerned by both study and observation. As anthropologia texts began to proliferate in the early seventeenth century, they drew from and expanded on principles in these texts. This is evident in the Lutheran physician Johannes Magirus's Anthropologia (1603), which offered a detailed commentary on Melanchthon's Liber de anima, originally given in the course of lectures on the book at the University of Marburg.37

Magirus's Anthropologia reprinted each chapter of Melanchthon's Liber de anima with in-text notations linking key points to a list of comments produced as an appendix to each of Melanchthon's chapters. These [End Page 13] give us a glimpse into how Lutherans explained and extended Melanchthon's work. At times Magirus's notes merely give references to quotations from ancient authors that Melanchthon did not name in the text, but usually he expounded on key points in ways that point toward anthropologia. Where Melanchthon tended simply to inventory body parts in the anatomical chapters, Magirus discussed their structure and function in detail. In commenting, Magirus did not slavishly follow Melanchthon, but corrected him whenever medical authorities contradicted the Preceptor Germaniae. At the end of the chapter on the heart, Melanchthon's text ends, "the heart is the special seat of the substance of the soul." Magirus quietly rejoined: "But the whole school of physicians oppose this statement, who think that the seat of the soul is in the brain, where the animal spirits are generated."38 Magirus also pointed out lessons from the body along the way, such as highlighting the hands as the way to perform good works, and offering a detailed biological justification for palm-reading.

Because Melanchthon broke his Liber into three sections, describing the purpose of the study, the structure of the body, and the faculties of the soul, Magirus's comments indicate how each of the disciplines that received Melanchthon interpreted him, built on his text, and began to frame increasingly complex medical, natural philosophical, and theological systems. Authors of anthropologia texts after Magirus tended to explicate one discipline extensively, rather than attempt a large synthesis like Melanchthon's. Hence, Magirus's work serves as a hinge to the anthropologia texts in the next decades.

Magirus described biological function in detail and with a view to how it manifested spiritual and moral truths. This is similar to Bartholin, whose Institutiones anatomicae (mentioned at the outset) offered an empirical description and list of body parts and systems. In a separate accompanying text, Controversiae anatomicae, the Lutheran physician-cum-theologian meditated on philosophical and theological questions about the body, from the generation of life to differences between sexes to whether the resurrection of the dead is possible. Gregor Horst's De natura humana manifests the same concern. There, the physician used the introduction to detail the usefulness of anatomy for all fields, including philosophy, theology, and law.39 [End Page 14]

The final section of Melanchthon's Liber, and Magirus's commentary, expatiated on the powers of the soul, related to the preceding physiological account, moving from vegetative to sensitive to rational souls. Sigismund Evenius's Anthropology, or, Of the Person According to Body and Soul, emulated this in a series of nineteen disputations.40 After sketching the "nature and constitution" of the subject as in the first section of the Liber, Evenius moved on to describe humors and spirits, cartilage, nerves, arteries, and the skin (the second section of the Liber) before proceeding to individual disputations on each of the traditional Aristotelian powers of the soul (the final section of the Liber). In this conventionally structured discussion, typical of De anima treatises by his contemporaries, Evenius discussed the faculties that respectively accounted for the ability to taste, smell, feel, eat, and think, and that ultimately, in this line of Aristotelian argument, differentiated humans from other animals based on the powers of the rational soul.

In addition, the first section of Melanchthon's Liber, which was devoted to explaining the book's aims, prompted Magirus to expound on the study's significance for understanding Law and Gospel, to remark that original sin "could not be explained without this doctrine [the study of the soul]" as done in anthropologia, and to offer some theological remarks.41 The Wittenberg theologian Balthasar Meisner's Sacred Anthropology provided an extended meditation on the status and faculties of the person before and after the Fall.42 Meisner outlined the theological condition of the person at four standard points: "integrity" (pre-Fall), "corrupted," "regenerated," and "glorified." This entailed dissecting in detail questions about the image of God in human beings, their original status and righteousness, the nature and reality of sin, the causes and consequences of the Fall, original sin, free will, and justification. Magirus also highlighted the significance of anthropologia for ethics, a point detailed in Georg Friedrich Blintzig's Anthropologia: hoc est problematum moralium de homine ethico, decas I–IV.

In all, anthropologia texts built on the Melanchthonian heritage by offering specialized and detailed medical, philosophical, and theological [End Page 15] systems, while retaining the teleological understanding of body and soul as bearers of theological and moral truths. Along the way, they dealt with everything from the similarities and differences between humans and angels, physiology, and the relationship of the sexes.

Interesting as these texts may be, why should we think they mattered outside of debates among a few in Europe? The fact that discussion of anthropologia topics regularly appear in the context of another sort of book, natural philosophical summae, suggests that early moderns recognized a connection between understanding the world as a whole and knowing the human body and soul. Anthropologia fit within a comprehensive view of the cosmos. To select from familiar authors, both Sennert and Bartholin produced exhaustive natural philosophy surveys, Epitome naturalis scientiae and Systema physicum, respectively, that culminate with accounts of the powers of the human soul and its interaction with the body after carefully delineating the relationship of matter and form in the natural world and describing natural phenomena, such as the earth, stars, water, movement, and time.43 This is typical of almost any early modern natural philosophical survey one might peruse.

These texts allowed thinkers to outline relations between human beings and other living creatures, accounting for connections and differences between different types of matter, for the different powers of soul, and for "occult" forces at work throughout nature. Natural philosophy also grounded discussion of the influence of stars and geographical location on health and morals in Hippocratic fashion. A key problem for authors of these texts was determining when a person's rational, immaterial soul entered the material body, because this is what distinguished human beings from other creatures.

This is where Sennert tripped up, in a debate that sounds like theological esoterica to twenty-first century historians, notwithstanding resonances with contemporary arguments about the status of fetuses. But it reveals how a traditional theological conundrum fused with a classic natural philosophical problem could become part of confessional polemics in topics covered by anthropologia. In short, Sennert argued that God created "forms" (souls) only once—at creation. Subsequently, parents hand down form to each child as part of reproduction.44 While carefully hedged, his arguments suggested that parents physically transfer souls to children. This caused [End Page 16] something of a firestorm, because it could justify traducianism, the notion that parents physically pass on original sin to children. This theory inspired debate from the patristic period through the early modern era, though it was mostly regarded as heretical from the time Tertullian propounded it until (and through) the time some early modern Lutherans adopted it.45

Traducianism was a critical point of difference between Lutherans and their Calvinist and Catholic counterparts. Building on centuries of scholastic consensus, Thomas Aquinas explained the case for the creation of souls in Summa theologiae based on the fact that each individual rational soul is immaterial, and thus cannot be transmitted physically. Early modern Catholics upheld this view that God created a soul for each child.46 Reformed theologians, following Calvin taught the same.47 Though Reformed theologians debated how God imputed Adam's sin to his descendants, they rejected any suggestion that the transmission of sin happened physically.48 Though not universally traducianist, Lutherans, caught up in lengthy and detailed debates about original sin introduced by Matthias Flacius Illyricus, found the matter more difficult to settle. Even when (as in Sennert's case), Flacian views of original sin were not in play, some used the fact that Genesis stated that God rested from creative acts after the seventh day to justify a form of traducianism. In 1623, the Lutheran theologian Theodor Thumm vigorously defended traducianism while attacking Bucer and Bellarmine, as representative Reformed and Catholic theologians who both defended creationism, and who would have been startled to find themselves grouped as allies.49 [End Page 17]

Sennert's formulations earned the opprobrium of the Lutheran-turned-Reformed physician Johannes Freitag and the Catholic Spanish Royal Physician Juan Gallego de la Serna.50 Called out as a blasphemer, Sennert took what might seem an unusual step, but one that illuminates the close relationship at the time between what we think of as science and religion. He turned to eight leading Lutheran theological faculties (Wittenberg, Leipzig, Jena, Altdorf, Rostock, Königsberg, Strasbourg, and Marburg [most often Reformed, but in the midst of a Lutheran phase in the 1630s] and one Reformed faculty (Basel), to vindicate his position. All pronounced his teaching sound. But he died in 1637, just as the controversy was getting going, a victim of the plague sweeping Wittenberg and his own insistence on staying in town to treat patients rather than evacuating for safety.51

This hardly ended things. While the aftermath of the controversy in Reformed circles is less clear, four years after his death, Sennert's final natural philosophy text, Hypomemnata physica, found its way on to the Inquisition's index of forbidden books. Notes in a Vatican Library copy of the book indicate that censors based their condemnation not on the ramifications of Sennert's matter theory for transubstantiation, but on traducianism.52 Two decades later, a Catholic edition of Sennert's book appeared, with the offending traducianist passages expunged. At the same time, Lutherans continued to publish in favor of traducianism, especially in Wittenberg. Sennert's protégé in medicine and natural philosophy, Nicholas Sperling, took up where his teacher left off, and trained his own student Georg Caspar Kirchmaier to advocate traducianism. All this was a shift from the century before, when Melanchthon rejected the idea in his books on the soul.53

The commotion about traducianism centered on some of anthropologia's fundamental concerns. In addition to showing how scholars transformed the Melancthonian tradition upon which they built, it also indicates [End Page 18] that cross-confessional interest in anthropologia was not cross-confessional consensus, especially in theological matters. Even more, traducianism called into question whether and how God acts to create each human being, and what could account for the good or bad that each person does. It was a focal point for debate about what it means to believe that body and soul are integrally connected, raising the prospect of sin as in some way a part of a person's physical constitution, or as something entirely separate from it. The willingness to engage in natural philosophical-cum-theological debate about whether human beings are pre-formed with evil in body and soul foreshadows similar, if different, debates among eighteenth- and nineteenth-century anthropologists.


Books entitled anthropologia continued to appear throughout the seventeenth century within and outside Germany, though one cannot identify a similarly dense number of texts published in one or two decades by thinkers in the same confessional and intellectual circles. It increasingly became the domain of physicians. Indeed, Martin Lipinius's three-volume Bibliotheca realis (1679) contains an entry for anthropology in the medical volume, not the theological one.54

Multiple uses of the term coexisted throughout the eighteenth century, encompassing medical, theological, and philosophical concerns, in addition to social, cultural, and ethical ones. While Samuel Johnson's dictionary defined anthropology as "the doctrine of anatomy; the doctrine of the form and structure of the body of man," the Encyclopedié outlined eight facets of the study, which in some cases echo concerns of writers of anthropologia and in others portend the anthropology that we know today: "1. The origins of the human being, 2. The different phases through which it passes, 3. Its qualities or affections, 4. Its faculties or actions, to deduce from them: 5. An understanding of its nature, 6. Its relationships, 7. Its final state, 8. The rules that one must follow in order to reply properly."55 [End Page 19]

The various uses of the word, along with the conceptual moves described above, suggest that the divide between anthropologia and the later human sciences may not be as stark as it seems. Historians typically trace anthropology to the eighteenth century because (it is claimed), "No age of European intellectual history was more fascinated by ideas of human nature—by its biological and moral dimension, and its physical and spiritual attributes—than the Enlightenment."56 This betrays uncritical acceptance of the many eighteenth-century thinkers who hailed their age as the one that invented the study of humankind. For instance, Hume lamented, "Human nature is the only science of man; and yet has been hitherto the most neglected."57 John Zammito argues that "German anthropological discourse crystallized in three distinct manifestations around the year 1772" on the publication of Ernst Platner's Anthropologie für Ärzte und Weltweise in that year as well as Kant's seminal lectures on anthropology and Herder's essay on the origins of language.58

True, European explorers and colonialists did struggle to describe the new places and peoples they encountered; eighteenth- and nineteenth-century anthropologists often wrote apologetics for racism; and the Enlightenment inspired a surge in the sciences humaines. Yet this ignores how anthropologia developed, or how it may have helped sixteenth- and seventeenth-century thinkers to make sense of themselves as well as the new peoples and places they encountered, perhaps forging tools that eighteenth-century thinkers inherited.

As seen, anthropologia developed out of and fortified a tendency to read bodies as the bearers of moral or theological truths, as physical sites that manifested spiritual reality. It was flexible and universal enough to spread and change. Europeans trained in this system of thought took it beyond the bounds of Europe with them, and attempted to use it to understand new peoples, utilizing familiar terms and categories, as both Sabine MacCormack and Anthony Pagden have argued.59 Joyce Chaplin has [End Page 20] shown how English settlers struggled to understand new technologies and different bodies in New England, while Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra and Kate Earle highlight debates about how being in new places changed European bodies.60

Europeans also attempted to share their system of thought. Fr. Giulio Aleni sought to introduce Chinese readers to Western anthropologia in 1623 in A Brief Outline on the Study of Human Nature (Xingxue cushu).61 There the Jesuit missionary distilled Coimbran teaching to compare and contrast it with Confucian. An ongoing research project explores the impact of introducing Aristotelianism and Western concepts of human nature in Japan in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.62 There were also efforts to understand differences among races, drawing on contemporary natural philosophy, medicine, and biblical studies. As early as 1618, Jean Riolan the Younger undertook anatomical experiments to determine why black skin is black.63 By 1808, as Colin Kidd notes, Thomas Jarrold utilized the term in his book on racial differentiation, Anthropologia: or Dissertations on the Form and Colour of Man.64

There are some glimmers of insight about the relationship between anthropologia and the development of anthropology in later centuries, but the extent of the influence of the earlier study on later ones remains unexplored. Simone De Angelis argued for a direct connection between anthropologia and developing natural law theories in the late seventeenth and [End Page 21] eighteenth centuries.65 Tanja von Hoorn attempted to connect the Pietism and psycho-physical medicine taught in Halle in decades around the turn of the eighteenth century with the development of anthropology in subsequent decades.66 Elizabeth Williams traced a holistic French "science of man" that viewed physical and moral medicine as intertwined; recently Stephen Gaukroger explored the work of médicins philosophes in 1730s Montpellier as part of a four-fold eighteenth-century scheme of naturalizing the study of human beings that also included Kant's and Herder's influential anthropological work.67 More work is needed to tie this "anthropological medicine" to the anthropologia that preceded it.

Rediscovering this crucial term—anthropologia—can give us deeper insight into how the terms and fields we use to study ourselves developed from an all-but-forgotten, intertwined natural philosophical, medical, and theological discipline. Recovering the word and the field that it designated offers the prospect of providing a deeper, genealogical understanding of how the ways we understand human nature became what they are today. [End Page 22]

Tricia M. Ross
Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Queensland


I would like to thank Anthony Grafton, Brad Gregory, Thomas Robisheaux, Thomas Pfau, John J. Martin, and two anonymous reviewers for the Journal of the History of Ideas for their helpful comments on drafts of this article.

1. Daniel Sennert, "Methodus discendi medicinam," in Operum tomus primus (Lyon, 1650), sig. X2v: "Inprimis vero Anthropologiae & materiae Medicae, quam etiam suppeditat Physica, cognitionem sibi mature paret Medicinae studiosus. Cum enim subiectum Medicinae sit corpus humanum, & finis, humanis sanitas, necesse est ut corporis humani omniumque eius partium, animaeque facultatum, & hinc dependentium operationum, usuumque & actionum omnium partium exactam notitiam habeat Medicus. Corporis humani cognitionem rectissime … quae per Anatomiam sit, sibi comparabit: ideoque ubicunque exercitia anatomica sese offerunt, ea non negligat. Simul Anatomicorum libros & tabulas consulat, & diligenter legat Vesalii, Laurentii, Riolani, Bauhini, Spiegelii, & aliorum in hoc genere scripta, & utroque modo corporis humani notitiam sibi comparet. Neque tamen sufficit partes, & earum structuram, cognitas habere, sed praeterea requiritur, ut sciat Medicus, qui singularum partium sint usus, & quas actiones, & qua ratione, anima humana per singulas partes perficiat" (in-text brackets mine). This originally appeared in Paralipomena, cum praemissa Methodo Discendi Medicinam (Wittenberg, 1642).

2. Nancy Siraisi, Taddeo Alderotti and His Pupils: Two Generations of Italian Medical Learning (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981), 171. On the De anima tradition, see: Mind, Cognition and Representation: The Tradition of Commentaries on Aristotle's De anima, ed. Paul J. J. M. Bakker and Hans Thijssen (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007); Psychology and the Other Disciplines: A Case of Cross-Disciplinary Interaction, ed. Bakker, Sander de Boer, and C. Leijenhorst (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2012); De Boer, The Science of the Soul: The Commentary Tradition on Aristotle's De anima, c. 1260–c. 1360 (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2013); Dennis Des Chene, Life's Form: Late Aristotelian Conceptions of the Soul (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2000); Michael Edwards, "Body, Soul and Anatomy in Late Aristotelian Psychology," in Form and Matter in Early Modern Philosophy, ed. Gideon Manning (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2012), 33–75; Medieval Perspectives on Aristotle's De anima, ed. Russell Friedman and Jean-Michel Counet (Louvain: Peeters, 2013); Transformations of the Soul: Aristotelian Psychology, 1250–1650, ed. Dominik Perler (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2009).

3. Christoph Lüthy, "Daniel Sennert's Slow Conversion from Hylemorphism to Atomism," Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 26, no. 2 (2005): 99–121; Emily Michael,"Sennert's Sea Change: Atoms and Causes," in Late Medieval and Early Modern Corpuscular Matter Theories, ed. Lüthy, John Emery Murdoch, and William R. Newman (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2001); Newman, Atoms and Alchemy: Chymistry and the Experimental Origins of the Scientific Revolution (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010); Hiro Hirai, Medical Humanism and Natural Philosophy: Renaissance Debates on Matter, Life, and the Soul (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2011).

4. Caspar Bartholin, Institutiones anatomicae: Cum plurimis novis observationibus & opinionibus nec non illustriorum quae in anthropologia occurrunt, controversiarum decisionibus … (Wittenberg, 1611), sig. B1r: "Anthropologia seu doctrina de Homine, vulgo & recte tamen in geminas dispescitur partes: Anatomiam, quae de corpore, eiusque partibus agit, & psychologia, quae de anima" (in-text brackets mine).

5. Ernst Troeltsch, Vernunft und Offenbarung bei Gerhard und Melanchthon (Gottingen:E. A. Huth, 1891); Paul Althaus, Die Prinzipien der deutschen reformierten Dogmatik im Zeitalter der aristotelischen Scholastik (Leipzig: Deichert, 1914); Emil Weber, Die philosophische Scholastik des deutschen Protestantismus im Zeitalter der Orthodoxie (Leipzig: Quelle & Meyer, 1907); Peter Petersen, Geschichte der aristotelischen Philosophie im Protestantischen Deutschland (Leipzig: F. Meiner, 1921).

6. Johannes Magirus, Anthropologia, Hoc est: Commentarius eruditissimus in aureum Philippi Melanchthonis libellum de anima (Frankfurt, 1603); Sigismund Evenius, Anthropologia, seu, de hominis secundum corpus at animam constitutione doctrina (Wittenberg, 1613); Georg Friedrich Blintzig, Anthropologia: Hoc est problematum moralium de homine ethico, decas I–IV (Altdorf, 1623); Balthasar Meisner, Anthropologias sacrae, decas I–III (Wittenberg, 1619–1625); Johannes Sperling, Anthropologia physica (Wittenberg, 1637); Georg Vechner, Anthropologia Mosaica: E textu sacro Gen: 1. v. 26. & c. petitia, & iuxta publicas (Beuthen, 1618); Bartholin, Systema physicum (Copenhagen, 1628). On the Bible grounding science, see Ann Blair, "Mosaic Physics and the Search for a Pious Natural Philosophy in the Late Renaissance," Isis 91, no. 1 (2000), 32–58; The Word and the World: Biblical Exegesis and Early Modern Science, ed. Kevin Killeen and Peter Forshaw (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007).

7. Ernst Cassirer, Individuum und Kosmos in der Philosophie der Renaissance (Leipzig: B. G. Teubner, 1927); Paul Oskar Kristeller, Renaissance Concepts of Man, and Other Essays (New York: Harper and Row, 1972); Charles Trinkaus, In Our Image and Likeness: Humanity and Divinity in Italian Humanist Thought, 2 vols. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970).

8. Karl Eschweiler, Die Philosophie der spanischen Spa¨tscholastik auf den deutschen Universita¨ten des 17. Jahrhunderts (Münster: Aschendorff, 1928); Ernst Lewalter, Spanischjesuitische und deutsch-lutherische Metaphysik des 17. Jahrhunderts (Hamburg: IberoAmerikanisches Institut, 1935).

9. La bella anatomia: Il disegno del corpo fra arte e scienza nel Rinascimento, ed. Andrea Carlino, Roberto P. Ciardi, and Annamaria Petrioli Tofani (Milan: Silvana, 2009); Joseph Koerner, The Moment of Self-Portraiture in German Renaissance Art (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993).

10. Gregor Reisch, Margarita philosophica (Freiburg, 1503); Joachim Sterck van Ringelbergh, Lucubrationes vel potius absolutissima kyklopaideia (Basel, 1538); Paul Skalich, Encyclopaedia seu orbis disciplinarum tam sacrarum quam prophanarum epistemon (Basel, 1559); Johann Friedrich Alsted, Encyclopaedia septem tomis distincta (Herborn, 1630). On Alsted, see Fernando Vidal, The Sciences of the Soul: The Early Modern Origins of Psychology (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011), 64–68; Howard Hotson, Johann Friedrich Alsted: Between Renaissance, Reformation, and Universal Reform (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000).

11. Magnus Hundt, Antropologium de hominis dignitate, natura et proprietatibus, de elementis, partibus et membris humani corporis (Leipzig, 1501). Some catalog entries indicate the term may have been in use by the early mid-fourteenth century. Usage of the term in manuscripts remains to be investigated.

12. Raffaele Maffei, Commentariorum rerum urbanarum libri XXXVIII (Rome, 1506).

13. Galeazzo Capella, Anthropologia (Venice, 1533); cf. Udo Benzenhöfer and Maike Rotzoll, "Zur 'Anthropologia' (1533) von Galeazzo Capella: Die früheste bislang bekannte Verwendung des Begriffs Anthropologie," Medizinhistorisches Journal 26, no. 3/4 (1991): 315–20.

14. Robert Ceneau, Gallica historia in duos dissecta tomos, quorum prior ad anthropologiam Gallici principatus, posterior ad soli chorographiam (Paris, 1557); cf. Han Vermeulen, Before Boas: The Genesis of Ethnography and Ethnology in the German Enlightenment (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2015), 360.

15. Richard Harvey, Philadelphus, or a Defence of Brutes, and the Brutans History (London, 1593), 15.

16. Johannes Triller, Anthropologia, id est, disputatio de homine in qua principia et affectiones illius, succinte quidem sed perspicuis certis thesibus comprehenduntur & explicantur (Leipzig, 1592).

17. Otto Casmann, Psychologia anthropologica, sive animae humanae doctrina (Hanau, 1594); Secunda pars anthropologiae: Hoc est, fabrica humani corporis (Hanau, 1596); on Cassmann, see Uwe Kordes, "Otho Casmanns Anthropologie (1594/96): Frömmigkeit, Empirie und der Ramismus," in Spa¨trenaissance Philosophie in Deutschland 1570–1650, ed. Martin Muslow (Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag, 2009), 195–210.

18. Anonymous, Anthropologie Abstracted: The Idea of Humane Nature Reflected in Briefe Philosophicall and Anatomicall Collections (London, 1655), brackets mine.

19. Clemens Timpler, Physicae seu philosophiae naturalis systema methodicum: Pars tertiam & postrema Physicae, complectens Empsychologiam: Hoc est, doctrinam de corporibus naturalibus animatis (Hanau, 1610), containing a problema, "An anthropologia recte distribuatur in Somatologiam & Psychologiam?"; cf. Vidal, Sciences of the Soul, 29.

20. Robert Kolb, "Dynamics of Party Conflict in the Saxon Late Reformation: Gnesio Lutherans vs. Philippists," in Calvinismus in den Auseinandersetzungen des frühen konfessionellen Zeitalters, ed. Herman Selderhuis, Martin Leiner, and Volker Leppin (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2013), 151–67, at 155.

21. Walter Sparn, Wiederkehr der Metaphysik: Die ontologische Frage in der lutherischen Theologie des frühen 17. Jh. (Stuttgart: Calwer Verlag, 1976).

22. Simone De Angelis, Anthropologien: Genese und Konfiguration einer 'Wissenschaft vom Menschen' in der Frühen Neuzeit (Berlin: Walter De Gruyter, 2008); Rafael Mandressi, "Médecine et discours sur l'homme dans la première modernité," Revue de synthèse 134, no. 4 (December 2013): 511–36; Sascha Salatowsky, De Anima: Die Rezeption der aristotelischen Psychologie im 16. und 17. Jahrhundert (Amsterdam and Philadelphia:B. R. Grüner, 2006); Vidal, Sciences of the Soul.

23. Dino Belluci, Science de la nature et Réformation: La physique au service de la Réforme dans l'enseignement de Philippe Mélanchthon (Rome: Vivere, 1998); Melanchthon und die Naturwissenschaften seiner Zeit, ed. Günter Frank (Sigmaringen: Thorbecke, 1998); Sachiko Kusukawa, The Transformation of Natural Philosophy: The Case of Philip Melanchthon (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995).

24. Philip Melanchthon, Commentarius de anima (Wittenberg, 1540) and Liber de anima (Wittenberg, 1552).

25. Melanchthon, Liber de anima, sig. A5r: "Nam discerni potentiae animae idem non possent quidem, nisi earum domicilia seu machinae in corpore hominis aliquot modo ostendantur."

26. Vivian Nutton, "Wittenberg Anatomy," in Medicine and the Reformation, ed. Andrew Cunningham and Ole Peter Grell (London and New York: Routledge, 1993), 11–32.

27. Jameson Kismet Bell, "Faithful Bodies: Anatomy and Emblematic Fugitive Sheets in Late Sixteenth-Century Wittenberg," Focus on German Studies 17 (2000): 3–21.

28. Nutton, "Wittenberg Anatomy," 12; Davide Cellamare, "Anatomy and the Body in Renaissance Protestant Psychology," Early Science and Medicine 19, no. 4 (2014): 341–64; Jürgen Helm, "Religion and Medicine: Anatomical Education in Wittenberg and Ingolstadt," in Religious Confessions and the Sciences in the Sixteenth Century, ed. Helm and Annette Winkelmann (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2001), 51–70.

29. David Chytraeus, De studiis doctrinae physicae (Rostock, 1589), sig. A3r: "Ac ut Trachea, seu canalis Oratorius, in nostro pectore cordi proxime additus est, ut intimos sensu ac motus cordis declaret: sic Ministerium Evangelii, intima penetralia pectoris divini, & bonitatis ac misericordiae erga nos immensae, patefacit. Quam agnitam, cum vera cordis gratitudine & oris praedicatione celebrare debeamus: instrumentum Musicum etiam, quo conditoris ac redemptoris nostri laudes decantemus, cordi adiunctum est."

30. Christoph Irenaeus, Adam und Eva als ein Fürtrefflich Geschöpff, und Kunststück Gotte, Mit ihrer Ankunfft, Herrligkeit, Ehestandt, Fall und Widerauffnemung, Creutz und Trost, Illuminirt und Ausgestrichen (Mülhausen, 1570), sig. C7r: "die excrementa und aussegung des Menschen wenn Adam in der unschuld blieben, nicht so gestuncken hetten, als man leider jetzt befindet."

31. Jakob Horst, Wunderbarliche Geheimnisse der Natur in des Menschen Leibe und Seel [sic] (Leipzig, 1588), sig. FF1v: "wie wunderbarlich Gott uns mit Leib Leben unnd Seele durch unsere Eltern in Mutterliebe anfa¨nglich vorsehen ernehret unnd erhalten …"

32. On Peucer, see Euan Cameron, Enchanted Europe: Superstition, Reason, and Religion 1250–1750 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010); Martin Roebel, Humanistische Medizin und Cryptocalvinismus: Leben und medizinishces Werk des Wittenberger Medizinprofessors Caspar Peucer (1525–1602) (Freiburg: Centaurus, 2012).

33. Caspar Peucer, Commentarius de praecipuis divinationum generibus (Wittenberg, 1553), sig. k2r: "Ut notarum signorumque in corpore humano sensibus subiectorum plura sunt ac diversa genera: sic artium quae illa considerant, aestimant, atque interpretantur, non unum genus. Aliae notae integram aut affectam valetudinem referent ac declarant. Aliae congenitam toti corpori vel praecipuis partibus temperiem, naturaeque; robor ac firmitatem, vel languorem atque imbecillitatem detegunt. Aliae insitas a prima origine inflexiones propensionesque, ad certa morum, actionum, studiorum, affectuum genera, vel abditos animorum sensus affectionesque; & a natura constitutiones ac conformationes arguunt, & ceu aperiunt, & ceu aperiunt ac produnt. Aliae naturae ductus atque impulsus ad foelices eventus ac prosperos, aut contrarios, praesensionesue et vim futurae praesagam patefaciunt."

34. Martin Porter, Windows of the Soul: Physiognomy in European Culture, 1470–1780 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2005).

35. See books 8 and 10 of Juan Huarte de San Juan, Examen de ingenios para las ciencias (Baeza, 1575). The Protestant English translator of de San Juan's work, Richard Carew, diplomatically chose to elide the portions of the original text that voiced anti-Protestant sentiments.

36. Robert Wokler, "Anthropology and Conjectural History," in Inventing Human Science: Eighteenth-Century Domains, ed. Christopher Fox, Roy S. Porter, and Wokler (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), 31–52, at 40.

37. Gideon Stiening, "Psychologie," in Melanchthon und die Marburger Professoren (1527–1627), vol. 1, ed. Barbara Bauer (Marburg: Universita¨tsbibliothek Marburg, 1999), 315–44; on Magirus, see 334–41.

38. Magirus, Anthropologia, sig. R6r: "Cor domicilium esse proprium substantiae Animae"; ibid, sig. S3v: "Sed huic sententiae refragatur tota Schola Medicorum: qui sedem animae in cerebro collocant, ubi generantur spiritus animales, & in cerebro fieri cogitationem, rationem & intellectum existimant."

39. Bartholin, Controversiae anatomicae (Rostock, 1631); Gregor Horst, De natura humana libri duo: quorum prior de corporis structura, posterior de anima tractat (Wittenberg, 1612).

40. Evenius, Anthropologia, seu, de hominis secundum corpus at animam constitutione doctrina.

41. Magirus, Anthropologia, sig. B4r: "de peccato Originis, quod non potest explicari sine hac doctrina" (in-text brackets mine).

42. Meisner, Anthropologias sacrae, decas I–III.

43. Sennert, Epitome naturalis scientiae (Wittenberg, 1618); Bartholin, Systema physicum.

44. Hirai, Medical Humanism: "the act of the production of souls is reserved for God alone who executed it in the creation of the world, after which there is only the 'multiplication' of forms and souls through the seminal principle," 176.

45. Pier Franco Beatrice, The Transmission of Sin: Augustine and the Pre-Augustinian Sources, trans. Adam Kamesar (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013); Michael Stolberg, "Particles of the Soul: The Medical and Lutheran Context of Daniel Sennert's Atomism," Medicina nei secoli 15, no. 2 (2002); Stolberg, "Das Staunen vor der Schöpfung: 'Tota substantia,' 'calidum innatum,' 'generatio spontanea' und atomistische Formenlehre bei Daniel Sennert," Gesnerus 50, no. 1/2 (1993), 48–65.

46. Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae, prima pars, Q. 90, accessed July 7, 2017,

47. Jean Calvin, Institutio christianiae religionis (Geneva, 1559), p. 79, 2.1.7: "Proinde a radice putrefacta rami putridi prodierunt, qui suam putredinem transmiserunt ad alios ex se nascentes surculos. Sic enim vitiati sunt filii in parente, ut nepotibus essent tabisici: hoc est, ita corruptionis exordium in Adam fuit, ut perpetuo defluxu, a prioribus in posteros transfundatur. Neque enim in substantia carnis aut animae causam habet contagio: sed quia a Deo ita fuit ordinatum, ut quae primo homini dona contulerat, ille tam sibi quam suis haberet simul ac perderet" (emphasis mine).

48. See Francis Turretin, Institutio theologiae elencticae, vol. 1 (Geneva, 1679), Locus 5, Question XIII: "Are souls created by God, or are they propagated? We affirm the former and deny the latter."

49. Theodor Thumm, Controversia de traduce sive ortu animae rationalis (Tübingen, 1622).

50. Johannes Freitag, Detectio et solida refutatio novae sectae Sennerto-Paracelsiae (Amsterdam, 1636); Juan Gallego de la Serna, De naturali animarum origine, invectiva adversus Danielem Sennertum (Brussels, 1640).

51. De origine natura animarum in brutis: sententiae clariss: theologorum in aliquot Germaniae academiis, quibus simul D. Daniel Sennertus a crimine blasphemiae & haeresos, a D. Johanne Freitagio ipsi intentato, absolvitur (Frankfurt, 1638).

52. Stolberg, "Particles of the Soul," 193.

53. Nicholas Sperling, Defensio tractatus de origine formarum: Pro D. Daniele Sennerto &c. contra D. Johannem Freitag &c (Wittenberg, 1638); Georg Caspar Kirchmaier, De origine animae humanae, contra creationis defensores, pro traduce disputatio physica (Wittenberg, 1658); on traducianism, see Bernd Roling, "Melanchthon im Streit um den Ursprung der Seelen: Die Debatte zwischen Johannes Sperling und Johannes Zeisold," in Der Philosoph Melanchthon, ed. Günter Frank (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2012), 173–200.

54. Martin Lipinius, Bibliotheca realis medica (Frankfurt am Main, 1679).

55. Samuel Johnson, A Dictionary of the English Language (London, 1755) accessed July 26, 2016,; Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire universel raisonné des connoissances humaines, vol. 3 (Yverdon, 1771), 22: "nous apprendroit à connoitre 1. l'origine de l'homme, 2. les divers états par lesquels il passe, 3. ses qualités ou affections, 4. ses facultés ou actions, pour en déduire, 5. la connoissance de sa nature, 6. de ses relations, 7. de sa destination, & 8. des regles auxquelles il doit se conformer pour y répondre convenablement."

56. Wokler, "Anthropology and Conjectural History," 32.

57. David Hume, A Treatise on Human Nature, ed. L. A. Selby-Bigge, rev. P. H. Nidditch, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975), 273.

58. John H. Zammito, Kant, Herder and the Birth of Anthropology (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002), 3. On Kant's anthropology, see Alix Cohen, Kant and the Human Sciences: Biology, Anthropology and History (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009); Chad Wellmon, Becoming Human: Romantic Anthropology and the Embodiment of Freedom (State College: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2010).

59. Sabine MacCormack, "Ubi Ecclesia? Perceptions of Medieval Europe in Spanish America," Speculum 69, no. 1 (1994): 74–100; Anthony Pagden, The Fall of Natural Man: The American Indian and the Origins of Comparative Ethnology (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1982).

60. Joyce Chaplin, Subject Matter: Technology, the Body, and Science on the Anglo-American Frontier, 1500–1676 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001); Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra, "New World, New Stars: Patriotic Astrology and the Invention of Amerindian and Creole Bodies in Colonial Spanish America, 1600–1650," in Nature, Empire, and Nation: Explorations of the History of Science in the Iberian World (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006); Rebecca Earle, The Body of the Conquistador: Food, Race, and the Colonial Experience in Spanish America, 1492–1700 (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012).

61. Qiong Zhang, "Translation as Cultural Reform: Jesuit Scholastic Psychology in the Transformation of the Confucian Discourse on Human Nature," in The Jesuits: Cultures, Sciences and the Arts, 1540–1773, vol. 1, ed. John W. O'Malley, SJ, Gauvin Alexander Bailey, Steven J. Harris, and T. Frank Kennedy, SJ (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999), 364–79.

62. "Renaissance Culture and Japan's Christian Century," Japanese Association for Renaissance Studies, accessed June 27, 2016,

63. Andrew S. Curran, The Anatomy of Blackness: Science and Slavery in an Age of Enlightenment (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011), 1.

64. Thomas Jarrold, Anthropologia: Or Dissertations on the Form and Colour of Man (London, 1808); Colin Kidd, The Forging of Races: Race and Scripture in the Protestant Atlantic World, 1600–2000 (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006).

65. De Angelis, Anthropologien.

66. Tanja van Hoorn, Dem Leibe Abgelesen: Georg Forster im Kontext der physischen Anthropologie des 18. Jahrhunderts (Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag, 2004); Van Hoorn, Entwurf der Psychophysiologie des Menschen: Johann Gottlob Krügers 'Grundriss eines neuen Lehrgebaüdes der Artzneygelahrtheit (1745)' (Hannover: Wehrhahn Verlag, 2006).

67. Elizabeth Williams, The Physical and the Moral: Anthropology, Physiology, and Philosophical Medicine in France, 1750–1850 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994); Stephen Gaukroger, The Natural and the Human: Science and the Shaping of Modernity, 1739–1841 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016).

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