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Keckermann, Bartholomew

1. Dates
Born: Danzig, 1571/73
Died: Danzig, 25 August 1609 (some sources say 1608)
Dateinfo: Both Dates Uncertain
Lifespan: 38
2. Father
Occupation: Government Official, Schoolmaster
George Keckermann was for years an official in the court of the Duke of Pomerania. He was then conrector of a school in Danzig, and then later apparently a merchant. Bütner says that Keckermann came from a merchant family, but this seems, from the other sources, to describe only the father's final years.
No information on financial status.
3. Nationality
Birth: German. I am treating Danzig as essentially. German.
Career: German
Death: German
4. Education
Schooling: Wittenberg, Leipzig; Heidelberg, M.A., D.D.
Privately educated by Jacob Fabricius, rector of Danzig Gymnasium.
1590 (NDB says 1598, but this seems impossible), went to Wittenberg, then to Leipzig for a semester in 1592 (NDB: 1600), then to Heidelberg in the same year (NDB: 1600). I assume B.A. at one place or another.
1595, M.A., Heidelberg.
1602, D.Div., Heidelberg.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Calvinist
Keckermann is known as a leading reformed theologian in Germany. However, he does not appear to have been entirely an orthodox Calvinist.
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Geography
Subordinate: Astronomy, Mathematics, Optics
Though primarily a philosopher and theologian, Keckermann wrote a piece that holds an important place in the history of geography. He also published on astronomy, geometry, and optics, but in all cases only university lectures that contained nothing original.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Academia
ca. 1595, tutor, then lecturer in Philosophy, Heidelberg.
1600, professor of Hebrew, Heidelberg.
1602 (NDB and Adam say 1601), professor of philosophy, Danzig Gymnasium.
8. Patronage
Types: Court Official, City Magistrate
Elector Frederick IV named Keckermann to the positions in Heidelberg.
The Senate of Danzig offered him a position as early as 1597, but he stayed in Heidelberg until he had finished the D.Div. The Senate then appointed him professor in the Gymnasium (which I am treating as an academic position).
9. Technological Involvement
Types: None
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: None
  1. Joachim Staedtke, "Keckermann," in Neue Deutsche Biographie, 11, (Berlin, 1977), 388-9. [ref. CT1053.N47 v.11]
  2. Melchior Adam, Vitae germanorum philosophorum (Frankfurt, 1663), pp. 499-502.
  3. Allgemeine deutsche Biographie, 15, 518.
  4. Emil Menke-Glückert, Die Geschichtschreibung der Reformation und Gegenreformation. Bodin und die Begründung der Geschichtsmethodologie durch Bartholomus Keckermann, (Leipzig, 1912).
  5. Manfred Büttner, "Die Neuausrichtung der Geographie im 17.
  6. Jahrhundert durch Bartholomus Keckkermann," Geographische Zeitschrift, 63 (1975), 1-12.
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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