The SNSF Project 2004-2008

The many facets of Jakob Ruf's medical, scientific and literary works are not only of great interest for the development of the pre-modern differentiation of the humanities, especially philology and the historical sciences, but also for the history of science, especially of medicine and astronomy. His works also invite to explore the social implications of the dissemination of scientific and cultural knowledge in the early Confederation. From 2004 to 2008, Hildegard Elisabeth Keller conceived and directed the research project "Jakob Ruf's Theater and Art of Healing: A Media History of Vernacular Theater and Medicine in Zurich (1500-1560)". The project was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and other institutions.

Ever since the nineteenth century, Ruf's life, influence and work was largely forgotten and remained unexamined. The interdisciplinary team for the SNSF project, in which historians of medicine, German languague and literature, Swiss history of the early modernity, Latin literature and theology as well as specialists of the early-modern theater and performance all worked together, successfully completed ground-breaking, fundamental research towards the reconstruction of the social and professional context in which this author and doctor worked. They prepared a five-volume complete edition with an audio CD and a multimedia CD (2008). In addition, they curated the exhibition on Jakob Ruf in the Museum Strauhof Zürich as well as the accompanying exhibition catalog (2006).

The Researchers

Linus Hunkeler
Prof. Dr. Hildegard Elisabeth Keller
Dr.phil. Clemens Müller
lic.phil. Christian Schaefer Hubert Steinke PhD

Ph.D. degree: Dr. Seline Schellenberg Wessendorf - Dr. Andrea Kauer - Dr. Stefan Schöbi

Licentiates / Masters theses: lic.phil. Anja Buckenberger - lic.phil. Eliane Burckhardt - lic.phil. Franziska Herold - lic.phil. Manuela Gruber-Goldbaum - lic.phil. Karolina Zegar

Assistants: Nadine Adler - Daniel Bitterli - David Eugster - Mirjam Geyer - Isabella Heykal  - Nathalia Giontsis - Jakob Kuratli - Monika Rhyner - Michael Schmitz


Jakob Ruf, Zurich, Swiss Confederacy, 16th century, Urban history, history of theater, history of medicine, pharmaceutical history, history of the Reformation, obstetrics, midwifery, opthalmology, anatomy, surgery, popular medicine, medical iconography, astronomy, history of science, gender studies, biblical drama, political drama, performance practice, theatricality, iconography of the theater, broadsheets, calendars, book market, book illustration, early printing, mediality, history of media, visuality