Duncan Liddel (1561-1613)

Networks of Polymathy and the Northern European Renaissance


This collective volume in the history of early-modern science and medicine investigates the transfer of knowledge between Germany and Scotland focusing on the Scottish mathematician and physician Duncan Liddel of Aberdeen. It offers a contextualized study of his life and work in the cultural and institutional frame of the northern European Renaissance, as well as a reconstruction of his scholarly networks and of the scientific debates in the time of post-Copernican astronomy, Melanchthonian humanism and Paracelsian controversies.

Contributors are: Sabine Bertram, Duncan Cockburn, Laura Di Giammatteo, Mordechai Feingold, Karin Friedrich, Elizabeth Harding, John Henry, Richard Kirwan, Jane Pirie, Jonathan Regier.

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Pietro Daniel Omodeo, Ph.D., Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, is member of the Collective Research Centre Episteme in Bewegung, Freie Universität Berlin. His research focuses on science, philosophy and literature in the Early Modern Period, as well as on historical epistemology.

Karin Friedrich is professor of early modern European History at the University of Aberdeen. She is co-director of the Centre for Early Modern Studies and specialises on early modern social and intellectual history in Germany and East Central Europe.
“This is a rich and very valuable book. It is also an exemplary volume that throws light not only on a rather unknown figure in the history of science but also on sixteenth-century scholarly life in general.”
Rienk Vermij, University of Oklahoma. In: Journal for the History of Astronomy, Vol. 48, No. 4 (2017), pp. 482-483.
PART 1 Liddel’s World

1 Science and Medicine in the Humanistic Networks of the Northern European Renaissance
Pietro Daniel Omodeo

2 Confabulatory Life
Mordechai Feingold

3 The European Career of a Scottish Mathematician and Physician
Pietro Daniel Omodeo

PART 2 Mathematics, Medicine and Epistemology

4 A Pragmatic Aspect of Polymathy: The Alliance of Mathematics and Medicine in Liddel’s Time
John Henry

5 Logic, Mathematics and Natural Light: Liddel on the Foundations of Knowledge
Jonathan Regier

6 Liddel’s Ars Medica (1607): The Effective Method as Foundation of Medical Knowledge and of Ethics
Laura Di Giammatteo

PART 3 Academic Life and Higher Education

7 It’s Who You Know: Scholarly Networks in Liddel’s Helmstedt
Richard Kirwan

8 Home-Styling Matters: Symbolic Dimensions of the Professorial Household at Liddel’s Helmstedt
Elizabeth Harding

9 Liddel and the University of Aberdeen
Duncan Cockburn

PART 4 New Sources

10 Liddel on the Geo-Heliocentric Controversy: His Letter to Brahe from 1600
Pietro Daniel Omodeo and Jonathan Regier

11 Liddel’s Oratio de praestantia mathematicarum
Pietro Daniel Omodeo

PART 5 Bibliographical Reconstructions

12 Reconstructing Liddel’s Library at Aberdeen
Jane Pirie

13 Liddel’s Published and Unpublished Works
Sabine Bertram
All readers interested in early-modern studies, in particular in early modern science, astronomy medicine and philosophy, historians and philosophers of science, STS scholars, as well as cultural and social historians.