The natural philosophy of the biblical world : Jewish and Christian physicians in Late Renaissance Italy / Andrew Berns.

Berns, Andrew.
vii, 336 p. ; 29 cm.
Local subjects:
Penn dissertations -- History.
History -- Penn dissertations.
From the middle of the sixteenth century through the beginning of the seventeenth, Italian physicians took an active interest in the Bible. They regarded Scripture not only as an important religious and juridical text but also as a source for their historical and natural philosophical studies. To understand how this came to be so, the dissertation explores a variety of writings by Jewish and Christian physicians of this period: encyclopedias, letters, natural philosophical treatises, dictionaries, and medical case studies. Abraham Portaleone, Ulisse Aldrovandi, David de Pomi, Amatus Lusitanus, and Melchior Guilandinus are the main subjects of analysis. I show how medical education and natural philosophy provided their recipients and practioners with intellectual tools they used to develop a unique approach to the Bible. Scripture, in turn, helped settle disputes in learned natural philosophy and improve the efficacy of practical medicine. The five chapters of this dissertation explore how topics in Renaissance natural philosophy---botany, mineralogy, and zoology---catalyzed investigations into biblical and post-biblical antiquity. Just as the Bible stimulated novel approaches to natural philosophy, natural philosophical research led to new ways of reading sacred texts as historical, and not only divine, documents.
Advisers: David B. Ruderman; Ann E. Moyer.
Thesis (Ph.D. in History) -- University of Pennsylvania, 2011.
Includes bibliographical references.
Ruderman, David B., advisor.
Moyer, Ann E., advisor.
University of Pennsylvania.
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