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Sennert, Daniel

1. Dates
Born: Breslau, 25 Nov 1572
Died: Wittenberg, 21 Jul 1637
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 65
2. Father
Occupation: Artisan
His father, Nicolaus Sennert, was a shoemaker from Laehn, Silesia. He was sixty-seven when Daniel Sennert was born.
No firm information on financial status.
3. Nationality
Birth: Breslau, Germany
Career: Wittenberg, Germany
Death: Wittenberg, Germany
4. Education
Schooling: Wittenberg, M.A., M.D.; Leipzig, Jena, Franfurtan Order, Basel
Attended schools in Breslau.
1593, enrolled at the University of Wittenberg. Received his M.A. in 1598. I assume a B.A.
Studied medicine for three years at Leipzig, Jena, and Frankfurt a. d. Oder.
1601, he entered medical practice under the supervision of Johann Georg Magnus.
Made a short stay at the University of Basel.
1601, he received his M.D. from the University of Wittenberg.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Lutheran (assumed)
Claude Bonnet, a professor at Avignon, produced an expurgated edition of his works suitable for use by Roman Catholics in 1655.
Sennert was acquitted from the charge of heresy levelled by Johannes Freiburg, professor of medicine at Helmstaedt. The charge was made because Sennert held that the souls of animals as well as men were created by God out of nothing.
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Medicine, Chemistry, Natural Philosophy
Sennert's first book was Institutiones medicinae, 1611, and later there were other medical works.
Epitome scientiae naturalis, 1618, and Hypomnemata physicae, 1636, both dealt with general issues in natural philosophy. He contributed to the revival of atomism.
Sennert was influenced by Paracelsus without being truly a Paracelsan; he wrote influentially on chemistry.
Sennert's collected works alone went through nine editions within the space of forty years, and individual works were also republished.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Medicine, Academia
He practiced medicine while still a student (see above).
1602-47, professor of medicine, University of Wittenberg. He was Dean of the medical faculty six times during that period.
I assume he also practiced medicine because he is referred to as having served as a physician in Wittenberg and having been as well-known as a physician as a teacher. It is recorded that Sennert remained at his post in Wittenberg through seven plagues and died in the eighth.
8. Patronage
Types: Eccesiastic Official, Academic, Court Official, Aristrocrat
Perhaps Johann Georg Magnus served as a patron of sorts, though I have no evidence of their relationship other than the fact that Sennert practiced under him.
The 1619 edition of De Chymicorum cum Aristotelis et Galenicis consensu ac dissensu is dedicated to the Archbishop of Magdeburg.
He could have received the chair at Wittenberg only from the court. However, the sources attribute the appointment to Johann Jessen, a professor in Wittenberg. Sennert did become the personal physician to the Elector of Saxony, Johann Georg, after treating him successfully.
Ramsauer mentions Sennert's medical service to a wide range of aristocrats and rulers.
9. Technological Involvement
Type: Medical Practice
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: None
  1. Allgemeine deutsche Biographie, 34, 34-5.
  2. Partington, 2, 271-6.
  3. Thorndike, 7, 201-17.
  4. Rembert Ramsauer, Die Atomistik des Daniel Sennert, (Kiel, 1935).
  5. Pietro Brentini, Die Institutiones medicinae des Daniel Sennert (1572-1637), (Zurich, 1971).
Not Available and Not Consulted
  1. Jonas Graezter, Lebensbilder hervorragender schlesischer Aerzte (Breslau, 1889).
  2. August Buchner, Dissertationum academicarum volumen II, (Wittenberg, 1651).
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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