Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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(1,202 words)

1. Definition

The concept of heredity is a product of the early modern era, as is biology itself, of which it constitutes a central theme. As is clear in many languages, including English and German, the biological term is a metaphorical transfer from the legal term in inheritance law to the phenomenon of procreation and reproduction of living beings. Before the end of the 18th century, natural philosophers and doctors primarily focused on the…

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Müller-Wille, Staffan, “Heredity”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 04 October 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_031185>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20180915

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