Johannes Heurnius

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Johannes Heurnius
Johannes Heurnius 01.jpg
Johannes Heurnius
Born4 February 1543 (1543-02-04)
Died11 August 1601 (1601-08-12) (aged 58)
Scientific career
Doctoral advisorPetrus Ramus
Hieronymus Fabricius
Doctoral studentsOtto Heurnius
Other notable studentsNicolaus Mulerius

Johannes Heurnius (born Jan van Heurne; 4 February 1543 – 11 August 1601) was a Dutch physician and natural philosopher.


He was born in Utrecht, and studied at Leuven and Paris. He went to the University of Padua to study under Hieronymus Fabricius;[1] and graduated M.D. there in 1566, examined by Petrus Ramus and Fabricius.[2]

He wrote on the Great Comet of 1577; at that time he was town physician in Utrecht. In 1581 he became professor of medicine at the University of Leiden.[3] He had already a reputation and good contacts with humanist scholars; and was appointed as senior to Gerardus Bontius, an earlier physician on the faculty.[4]

He was a pioneer of the bedside teaching of medicine, and has been given credit for his methods.[5] From Padua he brought not only anatomy in the tradition of Vesalius, but anatomical demonstrations and practical clinical work.[1] It is not clear, however, if the 1591 proposal by Heurnius and Bontius to implement practical teaching on the Paduan lines was accepted officially.[4] The physician Otto Heurnius was his son;[6] Heurnius's ideas on teaching were transmitted widely through Otto, Franciscus Sylvius, Govert Bidloo and Herman Boerhaave.[1] After his father's death, Otto put together his lectures, published in the Opera Omnia, covering medicine both in theory and as a practical discipline.[4] He died in Leiden.


  1. ^ a b c George Newman, Interpreters of Nature (1968), pp. 79–80;Google Books.
  2. ^ Mathematics Genealogy page. Retrieved on 2012-04-16.
  3. ^ Tabitta van Nouhuys, The Age of Two-Faced Janus: the comets of 1577 and 1618 and the decline of the Aristotelian world view in the Netherlands (1998), pp. 189–200; Google Books.
  4. ^ a b c Kathryn Murphy and Richard Todd, "A man very well studyed": new contexts for Thomas Browne (2008), pp. 54–5; Google Books.
  5. ^ The growth of medicine from the earliest times to about 1800. Retrieved on 2012-04-16.
  6. ^ Wiep van Bunge et al. (editors), The Dictionary of Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century Dutch Philosophers (2003), Thoemmes Press (two volumes), article Heurnius, Otto, p. 430–2.

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