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Dr. Tillmann Taape

researcher staff

Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Thielallee 71
14195 Berlin

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Tillmann Taape joined the institute in 2023. His main expertise is in the history of science and medicine in the early modern period. He is particularly interested in the ways practical and learned forms of knowledge interact in alchemical, artisanal, and medical traditions. His work asks questions that are central to medicine, then as now: How are human bodies understood and experienced? How and by whom are bodies of medical knowledge consolidated? How do they affect therapeutic approaches and individuals‘ medical agency? Tillmann is currently working on a cultural history of distillation and exploring the works of the Berlin physician and alchemist Leonhart Thurneisser.

Current research project

The project „Distillation: Medicine, Craft Knowledge, and Bodies in Early Modern Europe” asks how distillation became a key medical technology of the early modern period and generated new understandings of matter and the human body. In particular, it explores Leonhart Thurneisser’s diagnostic distillations of his patients‘ urine, which he documented in their hundreds. These records give us new insights into early modern (al)chemical views of the body as well as raising questions about the relationship between practitioner and patient.

Research focus

  • Early modern medicine
  • History of surgery
  • History of Pharmacy
  • History of Alchemy and Chemistry
  • History of Science
  • Practical, artisanal, embodied knowledge
  • History of the book

Selected publications

Taape, T. (forthcoming 2023) Surgery. Routledge Encyclopedia of the Renaissance World.

Taape, T. (2021) Common Medicine for the Common Man: Picturing the ‘Striped Layman’ in Early Vernacular Print. Renaissance Quarterly 74, S 1–58.

Taape, T.; Smith, P.H. und Uchacz, T.H. (2020) Schooling the Eye and Hand: Performative Methods of Research and Pedagogy in the Making and Knowing Project. Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte 42, S 323–340.

Smith, P.H.; Rosenkranz, N.; Uchacz, T.H.; Taape, T. et al. (Hg.) (2020) Secrets of Craft and Nature in Renaissance France. A Digital Critical Edition and English Translation of BnF Ms. Fr. 640. New York: Making and Knowing Project.

Taape, T. (2014) Distilling Reliable Remedies: Hieronymus Brunschwig’s Liber de arte distillandi (1500) Between Alchemical Learning and Craft Practice. Ambix 61, S 236–256.


Vita Dr. Tillmann Taape

Tillmann Taape discovered an abiding fascination with the history of science while reading Natural Science as an undergraduate in Cambridge, where he subsequently completed a Master’s and PhD in History and Philosophy of Science, with a dissertation on the making of early modern medicine in early German print. In 2017, he joined the Making and Knowing Project at Columbia University as as postdoctoral researcher and lecturer. Since 2020, Tillmann has held research fellowships at the Huntington Library, the Warburg Institute, and the Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel. He is a member of the editorial board and book reviews editor of the journal Ambix.

Research profile