Die beste Zeit-Vertreib…. Janusz Abraham GEHEMA.

Self-Knowledge Leads to Health

Die beste Zeit-Vertreib…

6 p.l., 51, [1] pp. Small 8vo, attractive antique calf-backed marbled boards. Bremen: 1689.

First edition and scarce; WorldCat locates no copy in North America. “In Germany, no greater supporter, and conveyer into the German context, of the reforming ideas of Bontekoe, Overkamp, Blankaart and Muys could be found during their own time, or later, than Janusz Abraham Gehema (1647-1715). The Danzig-born son of Abraham Jakobson, an ennobled Polish official, chief administrative officer and royal chamberlain to the King of Poland, Janusz Abraham, from the age of fourteen, served in the Polish army as well as with foreign troops…In 1672, his military service took him to Holland, where he resigned his commission as cavalry captain to study medicine at Leiden, Groningen, and Utrecht. At Utrecht he also studied philosophy under the Cartesian Henricus Regius. Gehema adopted Descartes’ philosophy and the iatrochemical theories of De le Böe Sylvius and became a fervent advocate and personal friend of Bontekoe…After obtaining his doctorate in Königsberg (1678), Gehema practised in Groningen (1678), Danzig (1679), Königsberg (1681), and Hamburg, served as military doctor in the Polish (and later Danish) army, was at one time councillor and physician in ordinary to the Polish king and, from 1688-95, court physician to the Duke of Mecklenburg, and then, from 1695, Hofmedicus in Berlin, as well as Fiscalis des armes (1703).”–Anette Henriette Munt, The Impact of Dutch Cartesian Medical Reformers in Early Enlightenment German Culture (1680-1720), PhD thesis, University of London, 2004 (online resource), pp. 157-58.

While Gehema is best known today for his writings on reforming military medicine, he wrote a number of most interesting and opinionated books on blood-letting, purging, apothecary reform, pediatrics, fevers, gout, tea, diet, healthy living, etc. This work is concerned with “the best pastime”: the striving for self-knowledge, based on reason, experience, and the “new medicine” Gehema propounded. Through self-knowledge, the layperson could achieve healthy living, avoiding extreme treatments recommended by older and more conservative medical professionals.

Fine copy.

Price: $2,750.00

Item ID: 7466

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