Ph.D. Candidate Department of History Duke University
2016 to 2017
Care of Bodies, Cure of Souls: Medicine and Religion in Early Modern Germany
What happens to understandings of body, soul, and personhood when scientific progress collides with philosophical and religious shifts? In early modern Europe, a discipline called "anthropologia" blended shifting natural philosophical and theological ideas about body and soul. By exploring this early modern discipline, my dissertation highlights how scientific and religious concepts about body and soul overlapped and influenced each other, particularly in medical theory. My project centers on one of the most distinctive early modern combinations of medicine, natural philosophy and theology, the work of thinkers in the "Wittenberg Circle." This offers striking parallels between early modern disputes and modern debates in fields from biology and the neurosciences to theology and philosophy. My work contributes a historical perspective to contemporary discussion of how scientific and religious changes entail new understandings of body, soul, and personhood.