The final years

By Sebastian Olden-Jørgensen Two years after his ordination Niels Steensen was consecrated a bishop and from 1677-80 worked as vicar apostolic at the court of duke Johann Friedrich of Hannover (1625-79). Although the country was protestant, duke Johann Friedrich—the brother…

Anatomy, geology and theology

By Sebastian Olden-Jørgensen Steensen’s conversion made a return to his home country impossible, and until 1672 he continued doing research in the service of the grand duke of Tuscany. A shark’s head which the grand duke gave him  provided the…

Conversion

By Sebastian Olden-Jørgensen It is not clear when exactly Niels Steensen became interested in Catholicism. Most likely his interest began during his stay in Paris 1665-65, where we know that he discussed religion with several people. A decisive moment occurred…

Cartesianism

By Sebastian Olden-Jørgensen During his studies in the Netherlands, Steensen had come into contact with a philosophical trend which influenced him deeply.  This was Cartesianism, named after the great French philosopher, René Descartes (1596-1650). Descartes plays a critical role in…