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Dorn, Gerard

1. Dates
Born: Belgium ? (someone described him as "Belga") flourished: Basel, Switzerland and Frankfurt, Germany, 1566 - 1584 (ADB also mentions Strassbourg)
Died: fl
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
2. Father
Occupation: No Information
No information on financial status.
3. Nationality
Birth: birth, Belgian career, German and Swiss death, unknown.
4. Education
Schooling: Unknown, M.D.
Student of Adam of Bodenstein.
Received doctorate, unclear where. I therefore assume a B.A.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Catholic
The situation is unclear. On the one hand Adam of Bodenstein was apparently Protestant, and Dorn did talk of the need of a reform in philosophy, like that in religion earlier in the century, to make philosophy more Christian. On the other hand his dedications were relentlessly to Catholic princes, and this has seemed most important to me.
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Alchemy, Iatrochemistry, Occult Philosophy
Subordinate: Medicine, Pharmacology
Dorn was an early follower of Paracelsus, whose works he translated and edited in Latin.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Unknown, Publishing
For several years worked, perhaps on commission, as a translator for the Basel publisher Peter Perna.
8. Patronage
Types: Scientist, Court Official, Aristrocrat
He dedicated his first book to Adam of Bodenstein. (I'll leave this in, but with misgivings.)
He dedicated a work of 1568 and a 1584 commentary on Paracelsus to Duke Frederick of Bavaria.
He dedicated another 1584 commentary on Paracelsus to Archduke Ferdinand of Austria.
He dedicated a work of 1570 to Duke Ludwig of Wurtemberg.
He dedicated a translation of Paracelsus to Charles, Margrave of Baden.
9. Technological Involvement
Types: Medical Practice, Pharmacology
He was a physician, and he wrote on Paracelsian remedies.
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: None
  1. Hirsch, Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, 5, 351.
  2. J.R. Partington, A History of Chemistry, 4 vols. (London, 1961), 2, 159 - 160.
  3. L. Thorndike, A History of Magic and Experimental Science, 8 vols. (New York, 1923-58), 5, 630 - 635.
  4. R.P. Multhauf, The origins of Chemistry, (London, 1966), 241 - 243, 288 - 289.
  5. W. Pagel, Paracelsus: an Introduction to Philosophical Medicine in the Era of the Renaissance, 2nd ed. (Basel, 1982), pp. 31, 156, 191, 228, 284, 308, 330.
  6. _____, Das medizinische Weltbild des Paracelsus, (Weisbaden, 1962), pp. 19-20, 92, 107, 111. Gnudi (DSB) and Hirsch say little is known about him. I dutifully looked up all of these references to him hoping that I would find more; Gnudi and Hirsch seem to be right.
  7. Not consulted: DSB lists other "minor" sources.
Compiled by:
Richard S. Westfall
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
Indiana University

Note: the creators of the Galileo Project and this catalogue cannot answer email on geneological questions.

1995 Al Van Helden
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