Lives of the fellows

John Geynes

b.? d.23 July 1563
MD Oxon(1535) FRCP(1560)

John Geynes, M.D., was a doctor of medicine of Oxford 5th July, 1535, and was admitted a Fellow of the College of Physicians 15th November, 1560. The year before his admission as a Fellow, he was cited before the College for impugning the infallibility of Galen. On his acknowledgment of error, and humble recantation, signed with his own hand, he was received into the College. This incident, curiously illustrative of the state of medicine in this country at that time, although already cited by Sir George Baker and Dr. Francis Hawkins in their respective Harveian Orations, is so interesting in an historical point of view, that I append in a foot-note the chief particulars.(1) The temporary heresy of Dr. Geynes was forgotten as soon as forgiven. He was forthwith appointed to offices of dignity and trust in the College, was Censor in 1561, 1562, 1563, and was named Elect 30th September, 1562, in place of Dr. John Fryer, “carcere religionis suæ causâ.” Dr. Geynes, as I find in the Annals, died of the plague on the 23rd July, 1563.

William Munk

[(1) 1559, Decembris xxii. Præceptum est Joani Genes gratioso alioqui et non imprudenti viro, ut scripta Collegio exhibeat omnia ea Galeni loca (intra mensem unum) quibus eum errasse, et vulgo et apud doctos ac etiam coram universo Collegio in solennibus comitiis congregato dicere hominem non pudebat.
1560. Anno superiori, mense Decembris, imperatum est Joanni Geynes medico, ut in quibus publicè dicere solebat, Galenum errasse, referente venerabili viro Thoma Wendeo, medico Regio, et ipso etiam Geyno coram universo Collegio palam affirmante ea proferret. Quod tamen cum honestis rationibus facere recusaverit, coactus est per officiarium vicecomitis Londinensis, jubente Præsidente, id præstare, aut in carcerem deduci, &c. Suas autem partes cum nequibat Geynes defendere, clarèque deprehendebat suam, non Galeni, culpam fuisse, honestissimè sese dedidit, et errorem agnovit pœnitentiâ ductus, se vana proposuisse; diligentius non circumspexisse; Galeni, loca exquisitius non contulisse; ejus sensum non indagasse; sententiam non intellexisse; verba fideliter non citasse; reverentiâ in Galenum non usum esse, et eum falso accusasse. Quod etiam confirmavit subscriptione suâ in hæc verba: “Ego Johannes Geynes fateor Galenum in iis, quæ proposui contra eum, non errasse.”]

(Volume I, page 62)

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