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Schegk [Schegkius, Scheggius, Degen], Jakob [Jacobus]

1. Dates
Born: Schorndorf, 7 Jun 1511
Died: Tübingen, 9 May 1587
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 76
2. Father
Occupation: Unknown
He was the son of a well-to-do burgher, Bernard Degen.
I accept the statement--prosperous at least.
3. Nationality
Birth: Schorndorf, Germany
Career: Tübingen, Germany
Death: Tübingen, Germany
4. Education
Schooling: Tübingen, M.A., M.D.
Taught Latin as a boy by Johann Thomas, a student of Johann Reuchlin's.
1527, he entered the University of Tübingen to study philosophy. He received his B.A. in 1528, and his M.A. in 1530. He also studied theology and medicine, receiving an M.D in 1539.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Catholic, Lutheran
Reared as a Catholic, Schegk accepted without protest the conversion of Tübingen to Lutheranism.
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Scholastic Philosophy
Subordinate: Medicine
Schegk's first publication was a general compendium of Aristotelian physics. This set the tone of his life's work as a devoted Aristotelian, who became known as the leading Aristotelian in Germany. Strictly speaking, he does not appear to have been a Scholastic, but that seems the only suitable category.
He also published some on medicine.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Academia
1531-77, taught philosophy, logic, and medicine at the University of Tübingen, at some point becoming professor of medicine and aristotelian philosophy. He was rector of the university six times. Schegk became blind in 1577, and in that year resigned his position, though he did not cease to publish.
8. Patronage
Types: Court Official, Aristrocrat, Government Official, Eccesiastic Official
Schegk had numerous connections with the court of Württemberg, which I assume was behind the academic appointment. He dedicated three books (including De demonstratione, 1564) to Duke Christoph and another (Organi Aristotelei pars prima, 1577) to Duke Ludwig. One of those two requested Schegk's opinion on a theological dispute concerning the communion and had his exposition published. Later there was another theological dispute in which he engaged upon the specific request of the Duke.
He dedicated Anti Simonius, 1573, to Count Philipp Ludwig von Hanau und Rheineck, Schegk's student. And he dedicated Commentaria in libros topicorum, 1584-5, to Andreas Dudith, Herr von Horehuviz.
He dedicated Epicteti dissert., 1554, to the Imperial Counsellor Sigmar von Schlusslberg.
What I do not entirely understand, he (a Lutheran) dedicated De principatu animae, 1543, to Abbot Johann Scultetus.
There were other dedications--to the Jurist Johann Sichard, and to the Rector and Senate of Tübingen. I do find it interesting that in 1540 Schegk was offered an appointment at the University of Leipzig; when he chose to stay in Tübingen, his salary nearly trebled. He then dedicated a commentary on Aristotle, 1544, to the Senate of the University of Leipzig. In the late 40's the University of Strassburg offered him another position which he also declined, but he dedicated yet another commentary on Aristotle, 1550, to the Council of the city of Strassburg.
9. Technological Involvement
Type: None
I found no evidence that he practiced medicine.
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: None
Schegk engaged in a dispute with Ramus that ended only with Ramus' death.
  1. A. Hirsch, Biographisches Lexikon der hervorragenden Aerzte aller Zeiten und Voelker (3rd ed., Munich, 1962), 5, 59.
  2. Neal Ward Gilbert, Rennaissance Concepts of Method, (New York: Columbia University Press, 1960), pp. 158-62. [H.P.S. Reading Room] C. Sigwart, "Jacob Schegk, Professor der Philosophie und Medicine," in C. Sigwart, Kleine Schriften, (Freiburg im Breisgau, 1889), 1, 256-91. W. Pagel, "William Harvey Revisited, Part II," History of Science, 9 (1970), 1-41 (especially 26-30).
Compiled by:
Richard S. Westfall
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
Indiana University

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©1995 Al Van Helden
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