Zoology in Early Modern Culture

Intersections of Science, Theology, Philology, and Political and Religious Education


This volume tries to map out the intriguing amalgam of the different, partly conflicting approaches that shaped early modern zoology. Early modern reading of the “Book of Nature” comprised, among others, the description of species in the literary tradition of antiquity, as well as empirical observations, vivisection, and modern eyewitness accounts; the “translation” of zoological species into visual art for devotion, prayer, and religious education, but also scientific and scholarly curiosity; theoretical, philosophical, and theological thinking regarding God’s creation, the Flood, and the generation of animals; new attempts with respect to nomenclature and taxonomy; the discovery of unknown species in the New World; impressive Wunderkammer collections, and the keeping of exotic animals in princely menageries. The volume demonstrates that theology and philology played a pivotal role in the complex formation of this new science. Contributors include: Brian Ogilvie, Bernd Roling, Erik Jorink, Paul Smith, Sabine Kalff, Tamás Demeter, Amanda Herrin, Marrigje Rikken, Alexander Loose, Sophia Hendrikx, and Karl Enenkel.
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Biographical Note

KARL ENENKEL is Professor of Medieval Latin and Neo-Latin at the University of Münster. Previously he was Professor of Neo-Latin at the University of Leiden. He has published widely on international Humanism, early modern culture, paratexts, literary genres 1300-1600, Neo-Latin emblems, word and image relationships, and the history of scholarship and science. PAUL J. SMITH is Professor of French literature at Leiden University. He has widely published on 16th, 17th, and 20th century French literature, its reception in the Netherlands, French and Dutch fable and emblem books, literary rhetoric, intermediality, and animal symbolism and early modern zoology, and its presence in art and literature.

Review Quote

“As this topic is so visual, there are nearly one hundred illustrations (some in color), unusual and welcome in an academic publication. The quality of the publisher’s production is matched in the scholarship of the essays within that present us with the latest interpretations of what it meant for early modern zoologists to read the “Book of Nature.” This book is highly recommended to historians of science and medicine, scientific taxonomists, and art historians.” Anna Marie Roos, University of Lincoln. In: ISIS, Vol. 106, No. 4 (2015), pp. 921-922.

Table of contents

Acknowledgements List of Illustrations Notes on the Editors Notes on the contributors 1. Introduction. Karl Enenkel INTERSECTIONS OF ZOOLOGY, RELIGION AND POLITICS IN ANTIQUITY 2. Die antike Vorgeschichte der Verankerung der Naturgeschichte in Politik und Religion: Plinius‘ Zoologie und der römische Imperialismus Karl Enenkel, with an English summary THE ORDER OF NATURE: EARLY MODERN VIEWS ON CLASSIFICATION AND GENERATON, AND THEIR THEOLOGICAL, IDEOLOGICAL AND EMPIRICAL BACKGROUND 3. The Species and Beyond: Classification and the Place of Hybrids in Early Modern Zoology Karl Enenkel 4. Identification of Herring Species (Clupeiae) in Conrad Gesner’s Ichtyological Works: a Case Study on Taxonomy, Nomenclature, and Animal Depiction in the 16th Century Sophia Hendrikx 5. Der Wal als Schauobjekt: Thomas Bartholin (1616-1680), die dänische Nation und das Ende der Einhörner Bernd Roling, with an English summary 6. Snakes, Fungi and Insects. Otto Marseus van Schrieck, Johannes Swammerdam and the Theory of Spontaneous Generation Eric Jorink 7. Insects in John Ray’s Natural History and Natural Theology Brian W. Ogilvie 8. Exkurs ins Pflanzenreich: Die Rose des Paracelsus. Die Idee der Palingenesie und die Debatte um die natürliche Auferstehung zwischen Mittelalter und Neuzeit Bernd Roling, with an English summary IMAGES OF GENESIS: INTERSECTIONS OF THE VISUAL ARTS, SCIENCE, AND RELIGION 9. Rereading Dürer’s Representations of the Fall of Man Paul J. Smith 10. Pioneers of the Printed Paradise: Maarten de Vos, Jan Sadeler I and Emblematic Natural History of the Printed Paradise in the Late 16th Century Amanda K. Herrin 11. Exotic Animal Painting by Jan Brueghel the Elder and Roelant Savery Marrigje Rikken SYMBOLIC USE OF ANIMALS AND POLITICAL EDUCATION 12. Are Cranes Republicans? A Short Chapter in Political Ornithology Sabine Kalff 13. Tierallegorie als ein Mittel der Fürstenerziehung. Die Theriobulia des böhmischen Humanisten Johannes Dubravius Alexander Loose, with an English summary PHYSIOLOGY AND POLITICICAL IDEOLOGY 14. From Physiology to Political Ideology: the Images of Man in Early Modern Scotland Tamás Demeter Index Nominum


History of Science and Scholarship (esp. Zoology), Art History, Book Illustration and Word-Image Relationships , Renaissance Humanism, History of Classical Philology, History of Ideas, History of Theology, Historical Bible exegesis