The Anatomical Renaissance : The Resurrection of the Anatomical Projects of the Ancients book cover
1st Edition

The Anatomical Renaissance
The Resurrection of the Anatomical Projects of the Ancients

ISBN 9781859283387
Published April 17, 1997 by Routledge
304 Pages

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Book Description

The central proposition of this book is that the great anatomists of the Renaissance, from Vesalius to Fabricius and Harvey - the forebears of modern scientific biology and medicine - consciously resurrected not merely the methods but also the research projects of Aristotle and other Ancients. The Moderns' choice of topics and subjects, their aims, and their evaluation of their investigations were all made in a spirit of emulation, not rejection, of their distant predecessors. First published in 1997, Andrew Cunningham’s masterly analysis of the history of the ’scientific renaissance' - a history not of things found, but of projects of enquiry - provoked a reappraisal of the intellectual roots of the Renaissance as well as illuminating debates on the history of the body and its images.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Part One: The Anatomical Renaissance: The Ancients of Anatomy; Between Ancients and Moderns; The Renaissance and anatomy: the first changes; Vesalius: the revival of Galenic anatomy; Columbus: the revival of Alexandrian anatomy; Fabricius: the revival of Aristotelian anatomy; Part Two: The Anatomical Reformation?: The Anatomical Reformation; The Reformation and anatomising: (i) Erasmian reform; (ii) The Lutheran reformation; (iii) The ‘Radical Reformation’; (iv) Counter-Reformation Rome; (v) Reviving Aristotelian anatomy; Index.

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Andrew Cunningham is Senior Research Fellow in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge, UK.


'This is one of the most stimulating books on Renaissance medicine I have read...It offers a series of challenging theses.' Medical History 'Cunningham...brings the scholarly debates alive, and manages to set medical changes firmly within their social and cultural context.' International Journal of the Classical Tradition ’In this original and provocative book, Andrew Cunningham sets out to rewrite the history of Renaissance anatomy. Not content with mere revision, he intends to turn the conventional viewpoint on its head....This is an absorbing and compelling book, based on an intimate acquaintance with the primary texts and an impressive command of the philosophical literature. Its thesis is original and in many ways convincing, leading to fresh readings of familiar anatomical texts...Future historians of anatomy will not be able to ignore this book.’ Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. XXIX, No. 1 'Cunningham’s narrative of change, his reconfiguration of the subject, and the example of his close reading will be extremely important for the historiography of science and medicine.' British Journal for the History of Science, Vol. 31 'The virtues of The Anatomical Renaissance are legion. The meticulous, the range of learning impressive, the array of illustrations instructive.' Isis, Vol. 89, No.3 ' important study that questions the accepted notion that modern ’scientific’ anatomy started with Vesalius.' The Year’s Work in Modern Language Studies, Vol. 50 '[An] important contribution to anatomical history...a masterly analysis....' Social History of Medicine, Vol. 12, No. 3