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[Thomas Bartholin, theological anatomy in the 17th century --religion and science in Danish history of medicine].

[Article in Danish]

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Sanderumgaard-Akademisk Medarbejder ved Godsarkivet.


It is commonly accepted, that the Reformation heavily influenced scientific thinking in Europe. But in many historical accounts, this effect is presented as a fundamental break at the beginning of the 16th century with previous ideas and methods. In this view, scientists turned their back on explanations based on religion and began deliberately and determinedly to pull society away from the church. After studying Bartholin's writings, particularly some of the less well known texts such as his treatises on biblical medicine, I have come to the conclusion, that he in fact saw himself primarily as a theologian. For him anatomy was merely a tool, and so it had been for scientist all over Europe from its gradual evolvement as a field of study from Antiquity to the Renaissance. It had been a tool to illustrate the greatness and perfection of God's Creation in artistic ways, a tool to prove sanctity, a tool to establish causes of death in both judicial and medical contexts etc.

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