De Raey: The Mole in Leiden

Cartesianism in 17th century medical education

Hendrik Punt

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De Raey: The Mole in Leiden

gebonden: € 29.90: GRATIS verzending! (NL)

ISBN: 9789082917611, geïllustreerd, 180 blz., December 2019, Engels
Formaat: 24.9 (h) x 20.7 (b) x 2.2 (d) cm. Gewicht: 694 gram.

Uitgever: Bibliotheca medico-historica Leidensis

trefwoorden: cartesianisme de raey descartes psychosomatic

NB: Er zijn meer uitvoeringen van dit boek.


This book is not only meant for philosophers and medical historians, but for all who want to take a look at the extensive menu of Cartesian cuisine. The 17th-century philosopher René Descartes turned established science upside down by doubting all certainties. His critical mind rejected statements that could not be proven by the Ratio. The Ratio was the metaphor for the roots, the physics for the trunk and the medicine for the branches and leaves of the Cartesian tree.
This premise was directly opposed to the established aristotelian theory in which observation formed the basis of knowledge.
De Raey, who once called Descartes his best student, synthesized a hybrid model of the old Aristotelian and the new Cartesian concept.
From 1658 to 1662 he gave private lessons in medicine at Leiden University and tried to use his model as a basis for explaining human physiology.
Until now, nothing was known about the content of these lectures. The author recently found a dispute. It is a new dish on the Cartesian menu.


Meer teksten en voorbeelden:

over de schrijver(s)In addition to his profession as a military physician, the author was also a member of the academic staff of the History of Medicine research group in Leiden during the 1980s.
He focused his work there on anatomy and physiology in Leiden in the 18th century. He also wrote an overview of developments in twenty-five years of medicine together with the then head of the research group, the late Prof. A.M. Luyendijk-Elshout.
In 1983, he published a standard work on the anatomist Bernard Siegfried Albinus (1697-1770), whereby he used ‘forgotten’ anatomical and physiological sources. These were old lecture notes and anatomical preliminary studies.
During the last two decades he has worked as an eye surgeon at the Military Hospital in Utrecht and later at the University Medical Center Utrecht.
He is currently co-owner and medical director of Eyescan, an ophthalmic healthcare clinic.
Throughout this time, he did not lose his interest in Leiden’s medical history. He brought together an extensive collection of Leiden’s medical publications, including anatomical atlases, anatomical and physiological books, disputations, practice disputations, inaugural speeches, manuscripts, prints, portraits and instruments. He translated and annotated a large part of these publications himself.
During this period, he became increasingly interested in the content of the disputations, and in particular the disputations exercitii gratia. These were public practice disputations on subjects that the lecturer had taught during his private tutorials (collegia). They often involved controversial opinions and new ideas put forward by the professors, as well as commentaries on current medical theories. One can imagine how movements such as humanism, Cartesianism and iatrochemistry caused quite a bit of unrest at the new Calvinist university in Leiden, where the classical teachings of Aristotle had been made compulsory. These disputations were often a platform for new scientific ideas.
As less than ten percent of these practice disputations have been preserved and few of the remaining editions have been annotated, we can safely say that an important part of this medical history is lacking.
The author hopes to track down as many of these practice disputations as possible, to annotate them and to give them their proper place in history.
toelichtingThis is the first part of a historical study of the medical faculty of Leiden.
No complete history of the Leiden medical faculty is available from the establishment of the university in 1575 up until 1800. In 1911, J.E. Kroon described the first years of the medical faculty in his Bijdragen tot de Geschiedenis van het Geneeskundig onderwijs aan de Leidsche universiteit 1575-1625 (‘Contributions to the History of Medical Education at Leiden University 1575-1625’). Suringar has described the medical events of the 17th and 18th centuries in a multitude of articles. The Nederlandsch Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde (Dutch Journal of Medicine) served as a refugium for this in the previous century. Medical historians were able to publish their articles there, some of which were collected in the Opuscula Selecta Neerlandicorum.
For several decades after the war H.J. Witkam published corpus analyses on the medical faculty, the library, anatomical demonstrations and other ‘everyday medical matters’. A. Lindeboom made an important contribution with his studies on Boerhaave. His Analecta Boerhaaviana is the standard work on the greatest celebrity in Leiden’s medical history.
A. Schierbeek, M.A. van Andel, F.M.G. de Feyfer, J.G. de Lint, J.A.J. Barge, J. Dankmeyer, the first professor of medical history in Leiden, A.M. Luyendijk-Elshout, and her successor H. Beukers all published studies on various aspects of medicine in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The general histories of the university written by Mathijs Siegenbeek, and more recently by Willem Otterspeer, often include detailed information of the faculty of medicine.
However, a total historical overview of the first two centuries of the medical faculty in Leiden has never been published.
It is the intention of the author to publish a number of medical studies in the near future. These are all based on draft versions that have been worked out by him over the years. These will be made available in digital form on the website ex libris hendrik (
A number of them will be published in book form in the Dutch and English languages.
These are studies of extraordinary books, but also of medical disputations and practice disputations. The practice disputations indicate the course the faculty took during the period from its establishment until 1700. Studies produced by ‘obscure’ figures such as the deaf 17th-century surgeon professor Adriaan Falcoburgius also shed new light on the medical developments in Leiden.
Also, a new study of the anatomy of B.S. Albinus will be included.
The printing discipline will also be receiving attention: books by the publisher Plantyn and his son-in-law Raphelengius, a professor of Hebrew who was also printer, woodcuts by Titian and etchings by de Lairesse, allegorical representations on title pages of theses, images of professors by famous etchers such as Hendrik Goltzius and Rembrandt, brocade editions, poetic odes and epigrams to PhD students, and beautifully printed eulogies are often underexposed works in medical circles.
The Digital Portal makes it possible to include comments on and improvements of digitally published work.
This is one of the blessings of the new digital era and makes publications like this one accessible to anyone interested in Leiden’s medical history. Moreover, digital space is unlimited...
The Portal also aims to be a platform for anyone who has questions or comments about topics relating to medical history in general and the medical faculty of Leiden in particular.
We are always glad to receive information about the location of medical disputations and practice disputations. Less than 10% of all existing medical practice disputations have been found to date. It is of great importance to academia that such seemingly ‘obscure’ practice disputations are identified and extensively studied. A foundation will be established to provide the necessary funding in order to encourage research into as-yet undiscovered medical sources.
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De Raey: De mol in Leiden

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