Die Perioden des menschlichen Lebens – (The periods of Life) - 1794
Bernhard Christoph Faust
Bernard Christoph Faust, (born on May 23, 1755 and died on January 25, 1848 in Bückeburg) was a German physician, obstetrician and health educator. He came from a line of doctors and was later said to be the typical doctor of the Enlightenment. Faust studied medicine in Kassel, Göttingen and then Riteln where he was awarded a doctorate degree in 1777. He moved to Bückeburg after being employed by Princess Julianne of Schaumburg-Lippe as her personal physician and trusted advisor.
Throughout his life Faust was an avid learner of medicine, philosophy and was said to have been influenced by Rosseau and the French Revolution. He was a fervent believer in health promotion and has made efforts to educate the German population on matters of hygiene, diet and proper lifestyles. Faust’s writings became popular, were translated to many languages and sold over 150 thousand copies. Copies of his most famous works were sent to George Washington along with a letter in which Faust expressed his admiration for Washington.
Faust is also credited with his own architectural theory, the Sonnenbaulehre, which aims to build cities in a manner that improves health through more access to sunlight. Throughout his long life, Faust’s main objective was to alleviate the suffering of his fellow men and for his efforts he is remembered as a great philanthropist and humanitarian.
In 1794 Faust published, Die Perioden des menschlichen Lebens, which translates into The Periods of Human Life. The book describes Faust’s accumulated knowledge on obstetrics and human development. It is written in the format of text followed with annotations which elaborate on certain points. Each chapter corresponds to a period of life, the first one being from “the receipt up to the birth in the fortieth week of pregnancy”. During each ‘period’ Faust discusses milestones in tooth development and morphology. In the opening pages of the text Faust stresses the importance of oral health of the parents on the developing fetus. To Faust, teeth “determine the physical value of man”. Faust also describes in some detail the primary teeth of a baby and urges mothers to clean and take measures for proper oral hygiene of the child. He approximates dates of eruption with some accuracy and even mentions the morphological differences of teeth. The book contains some educational illustrations as well.
Faust’s writings offersa description of accumulated dental, medical and practical knowledge of the time, making it easily accessible to the public for the sole purpose of education.
Based on research done by Rafael Badalov, class of 2022 as part of their assignment in Elective in History of Medicine and Dentistry, 2018-2019. It was based in part on Dihle, Helene. “Bernhard Christoph Faust Und Seine Zeit.” Sudhoffs Archiv Für Geschichte Der Medizin, vol. 24, no. 3/4, 1931, pp. 283–311. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/20773629 and Schadewaldt, Hans, "Faust, Bernhard Christoph" in: New German Biography 5 (1961), p. 33 f. [Online version]; URL: https://www.deutsche-biographie.de/pnd116413549. Edited by Andrew I Spielman.