Volume 15, Issue 1, Spring 2015
Science, Ethos, and Transcendence in the Anatomy of Nicolaus Steno
The anatomist Nicolaus Steno (1638–1686), a key figure of the Scientific Revolution and founder of modern geology, engaged in research on human procreation and proved for the first time that women have ovaries and not so-called female testicles. Steno took the view of “simultaneous animation” of the embryo and demythologized malformations of the embryo by appealing to original sin. His sexual ethics presages the pastoral constitution Gaudium et spes (1965). Steno, who was later ordained a priest and consecrated a bishop, was a defender of human life and looked at the human body as an “interpreter” of divine love. He was beatified by Pope St. John Paul II in 1988; his tomb is in the Basilica San Lorenzo in Florence. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 15.1 (Spring 2015): 107–126.