Early 17th-Century Physicians and the Peregrinatio Academica

Early 17th-Century Physicians and the 'Peregrinatio Academica'

The case of Johann Schreck Terrentius (1576-1630)

Noël Golvers

14 March 2023 – 5 PM (CET)

Johann Schreck Terrentius (1576-1630), was born in Bingen and was educated as a physician in Freiburg. Afterwards, he studied in Basel, tutoring students with chymiatric experiments. Already in early 1604, during a 2-year visit to Paris, he was considered as one of the best contemporary chymiatrists.

Further studies in Padua (1604), probably with Acquapendente (and Galileo), continued by a ‘peregrinatio academica’ throughout Europe, searching for the (truth on) ‘lapis philosophicus’, collecting medical books, distilling at German courts, producing chemical recipes and making personal contacts with, people such as Alstein, Crollius, Duchesne, and Mosanus.

In 1609 – 11 in Rome in the Accademia dei Lincei, he perfectioned his medical practice with Johann Faber in Roman hospitals, with farmacists and botanists; from there he had contacts with Cinzio Clementi, Santorio Santorio, Petrus Poterius,

and others. In this lecture I shall explore Terentius’ medical profile which was part of a more holistic education, in the ‘encyclopedic’ tradition (Lull, Ramus, etc.), also with a strong mathematical component and his journeys.

Terentius’ medical baggage comprised, apart from medicinal botany, also mineralogy and thermalism, the therapeutic application of opium and an active interest in quantitative medicine; he was the first to describe emphysema. Since 1618 he lived in China, where he translated some European medical (and mathematical) works in Chinese, before he died in 1630, during a farmaceutical experiment with a sudorificum.

About the Speaker ...

Noël Golvers is a senior researcher at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and a scholar of Jesuits missions in China.

Noël edited and translated a great number of Latin works by and on Jesuits in China and is a specialist in the works of Ferdinand Verbiest (1623-1688). His book on Verbiest’s European Astronomy of 1687 was published in 1993 and was followed by a highly acclaimed book on the reception of Verbiest’s astronomical work in Europe, Ferdinand Verbiest S.J. (1623-1688) and the Chinese Heaven. Since the mid-1980s, Noël has, with the support of the Verbiest Institute,  unearthed numerous unknown manuscripts and books related to the China Jesuit mission. In 2009 he finished a bibliography and anthology of Verbiest’s unedited works. Most recently he has authored the volume Johann Schreck Terrentius, SJ: His European Networks and the Origins of the Jesuit Library in Peking (Brill 2022).

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