A papal bull is a type of public decree, letters patent, or charter issued by a pope of the Roman Catholic Church. It is named after the leaden seal, traditionally appended to the end in order to authenticate it. Papal bulls have been in use at least since the 6th century, but the phrase was not used until around the end of the 13th century, only internally for unofficial administrative purposes. However, it had become official by the 15th century, when one of the offices of the Apostolic Chancery was named the "register of bulls". By the accession of Pope Leo IX in 1048, a clear distinction developed between two classes of bulls of greater and less solemnity; the majority of the "great bulls" now in existence are in the nature of confirmations of property or charters of protection accorded to monasteries and religious institutions. In an epoch when there was much fabrication of such documents, those who procured bulls from Rome wished to ensure that the authenticity of their bull was above suspicion.
A papal confirmation, under certain conditions, could be pleaded as itself constituting sufficient evidence of title in cases where the original deed had been lost or destroyed. Since the 12th century, papal bulls have carried a leaden seal with the heads of the Apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul on one side and the pope’s name on the other. Papal bulls were issued by the pope for many kinds of communication of a public nature, but by the 13th century, papal bulls were only used for the most formal or solemn of occasions. Papyrus seems to have been used uniformly as the material for these documents until the early years of the eleventh century, after which it was superseded by a rough kind of parchment. Modern scholars have retroactively used the word "bull" to describe any elaborate papal document issued in the form of a decree or privilege, solemn or simple, to some less elaborate ones issued in the form of a letter. Popularly, the name is used for any papal document. Today, the bull is the only written communication in which the pope will refer to himself as "Episcopus Servus Servorum Dei".
For example, when Pope Benedict XVI issued a decree in bull form, he began the document with "Benedictus, Servus Servorum Dei". While papal bulls always used to bear a metal seal, they now do so only on the most solemn occasions. A papal bull is today the most formal type of public decree or letters patent issued by the Vatican Chancery in the name of the pope. A bull's format began with one line in tall, elongated letters containing three elements: the pope's name, the papal title "Episcopus Servus Servorum Dei", its incipit, i. e. the first few Latin words from which the bull took its title for record keeping purposes, but which might not be directly indicative of the bull's purpose. The body of the text had no specific conventions for its formatting; the closing section consisted of a short "datum" that mentioned the place of issuance, day of the month and year of the pope's pontificate on which issued, signatures, near, attached the seal. For the most solemn bulls, the pope signed the document himself, in which case he used the formula "Ego N. Catholicae Ecclesiae Episcopus".
Following the signature in this case would be an elaborate monogram, the signatures of any witnesses, the seal. Nowadays, a member of the Roman Curia signs the document on behalf of the pope the Cardinal Secretary of State, thus the monogram is omitted; the most distinctive characteristic of a bull was the metal seal, made of lead, but on solemn occasions was made of gold, as those on Byzantine imperial instruments were. On the obverse it depicted somewhat crudely, the early Fathers of the Church of Rome, the Apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul, identified by the letters Sanctus PAulus and Sanctus PEtrus. St. Paul, on the left, was shown with flowing hair and a long pointed beard composed of curved lines, while St. Peter, on the right, was shown with curly hair and a shorter beard made of dome-shaped globetti; each head was surrounded by a circle of globetti, the rim of the seal was surrounded by an additional ring of such beads, while the heads themselves were separated by a depiction of a cross.
On the reverse was the name of the issuing pope in the nominative Latin form, with the letters "PP", for Pastor Pastorum. This disc was attached to the document either by cords of hemp, in the case of letters of justice and executory letters, or by red and yellow silk, in the case of letters of grace, looped through slits in the vellum of the document; the term "bulla" derives from the Latin "bullire", alludes to the fact that, whether of wax, lead, or gold, the material making the seal had to be melted to soften it for impression. In 1535, the Florentine engraver Benvenuto Cellini was paid 50 scudi to recreate the metal matrix which would be used to impress the lead bullae of Pope Paul III. Cellini retained definitive iconographic items like the faces of the two Apostles, but he carved them with a much greater attention to detail and artistic sensibility than had been in evidence. On the reverse of the seal he added several fleurs-de-lis, a heraldic device of the Farnese family, from which Pope Paul III descended.
Since the late 18th century, the lead bulla has been replaced with a red ink stamp of Saints Peter and Paul with the reigning pope's name encircling the picture, though formal letters, e. g. the bull of Pope John XX
Heidelberg University is a public research university in Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Founded in 1386 on instruction of Pope Urban VI, Heidelberg is Germany's oldest university and one of the world's oldest surviving universities, it was the third university established in the Holy Roman Empire. Heidelberg has been a coeducational institution since 1899; the university consists of twelve faculties and offers degree programmes at undergraduate and postdoctoral levels in some 100 disciplines. Heidelberg comprises three major campuses: the humanities are predominantly located in Heidelberg's Old Town, the natural sciences and medicine in the Neuenheimer Feld quarter, the social sciences within the inner-city suburb Bergheim; the language of instruction is German, while a considerable number of graduate degrees are offered in English. As of 2017, 56 Nobel Prize winners have been affiliated with the university. Modern scientific psychiatry, psychopharmacology, psychiatric genetics, environmental physics, modern sociology were introduced as scientific disciplines by Heidelberg faculty.
1,000 doctorates are completed every year, with more than one third of the doctoral students coming from abroad. International students from some 130 countries account for more than 20 percent of the entire student body. Internationally renowned and ranked among Europe's top universities, Heidelberg is one of the most prestigious universities in the world, a German Excellence University, part of the U15, as well as a founding member of the League of European Research Universities and the Coimbra Group; the university's noted alumni include eleven domestic and foreign Heads of State or Heads of Government. The Great Schism of 1378 made it possible for Heidelberg, a small city and capital of the Electorate of the Palatinate, to gain its own university; the Great Schism was initiated by the election of two popes after the death of Pope Gregory XI in the same year. One successor the other in Rome; the German secular and spiritual leaders voiced their support for the successor in Rome, which had far-reaching consequences for the German students and teachers in Paris: they lost their stipends and had to leave.
Rupert I recognized the opportunity and initiated talks with the Curia, which led to a Papal Bull for foundation of a university. After having received, on 23 October 1385, permission from pope Urban VI to create a school of general studies, the final decision to found the university was taken on 26 June 1386 at the behest of Rupert I, Count Palatine of the Rhine; as specified in the papal charter, the university was modelled after University of Paris and included four faculties: philosophy, theology and medicine. On 18 October 1386 a special Pontifical High Mass in the Heiliggeistkirche was the ceremony that established the university. On 19 October 1386 the first lecture was held. In November 1386, Marsilius of Inghen was elected first rector of the university; the rector seal motto was semper apertus—i.e. "the book of learning is always open." The university grew and in March 1390, 185 students were enrolled at the university. Between 1414 and 1418, theology and jurisprudence professors of the university took part in the Council of Constance and acted as counselors for Louis III, who attended this council as representative of the emperor and chief magistrate of the realm.
This resulted in establishing a good reputation for its professors. Due to the influence of Marsilius, the university taught the nominalism or via moderna. In 1412, both realism and the teachings of John Wycliffe were forbidden at the university but around 1454, the university decided that realism or via antique would be taught, thus introducing two parallel ways; the transition from scholastic to humanistic culture was effected by the chancellor and bishop Johann von Dalberg in the late 15th century. Humanism was represented at Heidelberg University by the founder of the older German Humanistic School Rudolph Agricola, Conrad Celtes, Jakob Wimpfeling, Johann Reuchlin. Æneas Silvius Piccolomini was chancellor of the university in his capacity of provost of Worms, always favored it with his friendship and good-will as Pope Pius II. In 1482, Pope Sixtus IV permitted laymen and married men to be appointed professors in the ordinary of medicine through a papal dispensation. In 1553, Pope Julius III sanctioned the allotment of ecclesiastical benefice to secular professors.
Martin Luther's disputation at Heidelberg in April 1518 made a lasting impact, his adherents among the masters and scholars soon became leading Reformationists in Southwest Germany. With the Electorate of the Palatinate turn to the Reformed faith, Otto Henry, Elector Palatine, converted the university into a calvinistic institution. In 1563, the Heidelberg Catechism was created under collaboration of members of the university's divinity school; as the 16th century was passing, the late humanism stepped beside Calvinism as a predominant school of thought. It developed into a cultural and academic center. However, with the beginning of the Thirty Years' War in 1618, the intellectual and fiscal wealth of the university declined. In 1622, the then-world-famous Bibliotheca Palatina was stolen from the University Cathedral and taken to Rome; the reconstruction e
Theology is the critical study of the nature of the divine. It is taught as an academic discipline in universities and seminaries. Theology is the study of deities or their scriptures in order to discover what they have revealed about themselves, it occupies itself with the unique content of analyzing the supernatural, but especially with epistemology, asks and seeks to answer the question of revelation. Revelation pertains to the acceptance of God, gods, or deities, as not only transcendent or above the natural world, but willing and able to interact with the natural world and, in particular, to reveal themselves to humankind. While theology has turned into a secular field, religious adherents still consider theology to be a discipline that helps them live and understand concepts such as life and love and that helps them lead lives of obedience to the deities they follow or worship. Theology is derived from the Greek theologia, which derived from Τheos, meaning "God", -logia, meaning "utterances, sayings, or oracles" which had passed into Latin as theologia and into French as théologie.
The English equivalent "theology" had evolved by 1362. The sense the word has in English depends in large part on the sense the Latin and Greek equivalents had acquired in patristic and medieval Christian usage, although the English term has now spread beyond Christian contexts. Augustine of Hippo defined the Latin equivalent, theologia, as "reasoning or discussion concerning the Deity"; the term can, however, be used for a variety of fields of study. Theology begins with the assumption that the divine exists in some form, such as in physical, mental, or social realities, that evidence for and about it may be found via personal spiritual experiences or historical records of such experiences as documented by others; the study of these assumptions is not part of theology proper but is found in the philosophy of religion, through the psychology of religion and neurotheology. Theology aims to structure and understand these experiences and concepts, to use them to derive normative prescriptions for how to live our lives.
Theologians use various forms of analysis and argument to help understand, test, defend or promote any myriad of religious topics. As in philosophy of ethics and case law, arguments assume the existence of resolved questions, develop by making analogies from them to draw new inferences in new situations; the study of theology may help a theologian more understand their own religious tradition, another religious tradition, or it may enable them to explore the nature of divinity without reference to any specific tradition. Theology may be used to propagate, reform, or justify a religious tradition or it may be used to compare, challenge, or oppose a religious tradition or world-view. Theology might help a theologian address some present situation or need through a religious tradition, or to explore possible ways of interpreting the world. Greek theologia was used with the meaning "discourse on god" in the fourth century BC by Plato in The Republic, Book ii, Ch. 18. Aristotle divided theoretical philosophy into mathematike and theologike, with the last corresponding to metaphysics, for Aristotle, included discourse on the nature of the divine.
Drawing on Greek Stoic sources, the Latin writer Varro distinguished three forms of such discourse: mythical and civil. Theologos related to theologia, appears once in some biblical manuscripts, in the heading to the Book of Revelation: apokalypsis ioannoy toy theologoy, "the revelation of John the theologos". There, the word refers not to John the "theologian" in the modern English sense of the word but—using a different sense of the root logos, meaning not "rational discourse" but "word" or "message"—one who speaks the words of God, logoi toy theoy; some Latin Christian authors, such as Tertullian and Augustine, followed Varro's threefold usage, though Augustine used the term more to mean'reasoning or discussion concerning the deity'In patristic Greek Christian sources, theologia could refer narrowly to devout and inspired knowledge of, teaching about, the essential nature of God. The Latin author Boethius, writing in the early 6th century, used theologia to denote a subdivision of philosophy as a subject of academic study, dealing with the motionless, incorporeal reality.
Boethius' definition influenced medieval Latin usage. In scholastic Latin sources, the term came to denote the rational study of the doctrines of the Christian religion, or the academic discipline which investigated the coherence and implications of the language and claims of the Bible and of the theological tradition. In the Renaissance with Florentine Platonist apologists of Dante's poetics, the distinction between "poetic theology" and "revealed" or Biblical theology serves as steppingstone for a revival of philosophy as independent of theological authority, it is in this last sense, theology as an academic discipline involving rational study of Christian teaching
Council of Florence
The Seventeenth Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church was convoked as the Council of Basel by Pope Martin V shortly before his death in February 1431 and took place in the context of the Hussite wars in Bohemia and the rise of the Ottoman Empire. At stake was the greater conflict between the Conciliar movement and the principle of papal supremacy; the Council entered a second phase after Emperor Sigismund's death in 1437. Pope Eugene IV convoked a rival Council of Ferrara on 8 January 1438 and succeeded in drawing the Byzantine ambassadors to Italy; the Council of Basel first suspended him, declared him a heretic, in November 1439 elected an antipope, Felix V. The rival Council of Florence concluded in 1445 after negotiating unions with the various eastern churches; this bridging of the Great Schism was a political coup for the papacy. In 1447, Sigismund's successor Frederick III commanded the city of Basel to expel the Council of Basel; the initial location at Basel reflected the desire among parties seeking reform to meet outside the territories of the Papacy, the Holy Roman Empire or the kings of Aragon and France, whose influences the council hoped to avoid.
Ambrogio Traversari attended the Council of Basel as legate of Pope Eugene IV. Under pressure for ecclesiastical reform, Pope Martin V sanctioned a decree of the Council of Constance obliging the papacy to summon general councils periodically. At the expiration of the first term fixed by this decree, Pope Martin V complied by calling a council at Pavia. Due to an epidemic the location transferred at once to Siena and disbanded, in circumstances still imperfectly known, just as it had begun to discuss the subject of reform; the next council fell due at the expiration of seven years in 1431. Martin himself, died before the opening of the synod; the Council was seated on 14 December 1431, at a period when the conciliar movement was strong and the authority of the papacy weak. The Council at Basel opened with only a few bishops and abbots attending, but it grew and to make its numbers greater gave the lower orders a majority over the bishops, it adopted an anti-papal attitude, proclaimed the superiority of the Council over the Pope and prescribed an oath to be taken by every Pope on his election.
On 18 December Martin's successor, Pope Eugene IV, tried to dissolve it and open a new council on Italian soil at Bologna, but he was overruled. Sigismund, King of Hungary and titular King of Bohemia, had been defeated at the Battle of Domažlice in the fifth crusade against the Hussites in August 1431. Under his sponsorship, the Council negotiated a peace with Calixtine faction of the Hussites in January 1433. Pope Eugene acknowledged the council in May and crowned Sigismund Holy Roman Emperor on 31 May 1433; the divided Hussites were defeated in May 1434. In June 1434, the pope began a ten-year exile in Florence; when the Council was moved from Basel to Ferrara in 1438, some remained at Basel, claiming to be the Council. They elected Duke of Savoy, as Antipope. Driven out of Basel in 1448, they moved to Lausanne, where Felix V, the pope they had elected and the only claimant to the papal throne who took the oath that they had prescribed, resigned; the next year, they decreed the closure of what.
The new council was transferred to Florence in 1439 because of the danger of plague at Ferrara and because Florence had agreed, against future payment, to finance the Council. The Council had meanwhile negotiated reunification with several Eastern Churches, reaching agreements on such matters as the Western insertion of the phrase "Filioque" to the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, the definition and number of the sacraments, the doctrine of Purgatory. Another key issue was papal primacy, which involved the universal and supreme jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome over the whole Church, including the national Churches of the East and nonreligious matters such as the promise of military assistance against the Ottomans; the final decree of union was a signed document called the Laetentur Caeli, "Let the Heavens Rejoice". Some bishops feeling political pressure from the Byzantine Emperor, accepted the decrees of the Council and reluctantly signed. Others did so by sincere conviction, such as Isidore of Kiev, who subsequently suffered for it.
Only one Eastern Bishop, Mark of Ephesus, refused to accept the union and became the leader of opposition back in Byzantium. The Russians, upon learning of the union, angrily rejected it and ousted any prelate, remotely sympathetic to it, declaring the Russian Orthodox Church as autocephalus. Despite the religious union, Western military assistance to Byzantium was insufficient, the fall of Constantinople occurred in May 1453; the Council declared the Basel group heretics and excommunicated them, the superiority of the Pope over the Councils was affirmed in the bull Etsi non dubitemus of 20 April 1441. The democratic character of the assembly at Basel was a result of both its composition and its organization. Doctors of theology and representatives of chapters and clerks of inferior orders outnumbered the prelates in it, the influence of the superior clergy had less weight because instead of being separated into "nations", as at Constance, the fathers div
Karl Theodor Jaspers was a German-Swiss psychiatrist and philosopher who had a strong influence on modern theology and philosophy. After being trained in and practicing psychiatry, Jaspers turned to philosophical inquiry and attempted to discover an innovative philosophical system, he was viewed as a major exponent of existentialism in Germany, though he did not accept the label. Jaspers was born in Oldenburg in 1883 to a mother from a local farming community, a jurist father, he showed an early interest in philosophy, but his father's experience with the legal system undoubtedly influenced his decision to study law at University of Heidelberg. It soon became clear that Jaspers did not enjoy law, he switched to studying medicine in 1902 with a thesis about criminology. In 1910 he married the sister of his close friends Gustav Mayer and Ernst Mayer. Jaspers earned his medical doctorate from University of Heidelberg medical school in 1908 and began work at a psychiatric hospital in Heidelberg under Franz Nissl, successor of Emil Kraepelin and Karl Bonhoeffer, Karl Wilmans.
Jaspers became dissatisfied with the way the medical community of the time approached the study of mental illness and gave himself the task of improving the psychiatric approach. In 1913 Jaspers habilitated at the philosophical faculty of the Heidelberg University and gained there in 1914 a post as a psychology teacher; the post became a permanent philosophical one, Jaspers never returned to clinical practice. During this time Jaspers was a close friend of the Weber family. In 1921, at the age of 38, Jaspers turned from psychology to philosophy, expanding on themes he had developed in his psychiatric works, he became a philosopher, in Europe. After the Nazi seizure of power in 1933, Jaspers was considered to have a "Jewish taint" due to his Jewish wife, was forced to retire from teaching in 1937. In 1938 he fell under a publication ban as well. Many of his long-time friends stood by him, he was able to continue his studies and research without being isolated, but he and his wife were under constant threat of removal to a concentration camp until 30 March 1945, when Heidelberg was liberated by American troops.
In 1948 Jaspers moved to the University of Basel in Switzerland. He remained prominent in the philosophical community and became a naturalized citizen of Switzerland living in Basel until his death on his wife's 90th birthday in 1969. Jaspers' dissatisfaction with the popular understanding of mental illness led him to question both the diagnostic criteria and the methods of clinical psychiatry, he published a paper in 1910 in which he addressed the problem of whether paranoia was an aspect of personality or the result of biological changes. Although it did not broach new ideas, this article introduced a rather unusual method of study, at least according to the norms prevalent. Not unlike Freud, Jaspers studied patients in detail, giving biographical information about the patients as well as notes on how the patients themselves felt about their symptoms; this has become known as the biographical method and now forms a mainstay of psychiatric and above all psychotherapeutic practice. Jaspers set down his views on mental illness in a book which he published in 1913, General Psychopathology.
This work has become a classic in the psychiatric literature and many modern diagnostic criteria stem from ideas found within it. One of Jaspers' central tenets was that psychiatrists should diagnose symptoms of mental illness by their form rather than by their content. For example, in diagnosing a hallucination, it is more important to note that a person experiences visual phenomena when no sensory stimuli account for them, than to note what the patient sees. What the patient sees is the "content", but the discrepancy between visual perception and objective reality is the "form". Jaspers thought, he argued that clinicians should not consider a belief delusional based on the content of the belief, but only based on the way in which a patient holds such a belief. Jaspers distinguished between primary and secondary delusions, he defined primary delusions as autochthonous, meaning that they arise without apparent cause, appearing incomprehensible in terms of a normal mental process. Secondary delusions, on the other hand, he defined as those influenced by the person's background, current situation or mental state.
Jaspers considered primary delusions to be "un-understandable," since he believed no coherent reasoning process existed behind their formation. This view has caused some controversy, the likes of R. D. Laing and Richard Bentall have criticised it, stressing that this stance can lead therapists into the complacency of assuming that because they do not understand a patient, the patient is deluded and further investigation on the part of the therapist will have no effect. For instance Huub Engels argues that schizophrenic disordered speech may be understandable, just as Emil Kraepelin's dream speech is understandable. Most commentators associate Jaspers with the philosophy of existentialism, in part because he draws upon the existentialist roots of Nietzsche and Kierkegaard, in part because the theme of individual freedom permeates his work. In Philosophy, Jaspers gave his view of the history of philosophy and i
Switzerland the Swiss Confederation, is a country situated in western and southern Europe. It consists of 26 cantons, the city of Bern is the seat of the federal authorities; the sovereign state is a federal republic bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland is a landlocked country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km2. While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of 8.5 million people is concentrated on the plateau, where the largest cities are to be found: among them are the two global cities and economic centres Zürich and Geneva. The establishment of the Old Swiss Confederacy dates to the late medieval period, resulting from a series of military successes against Austria and Burgundy. Swiss independence from the Holy Roman Empire was formally recognized in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648; the country has a history of armed neutrality going back to the Reformation.
It pursues an active foreign policy and is involved in peace-building processes around the world. In addition to being the birthplace of the Red Cross, Switzerland is home to numerous international organisations, including the second largest UN office. On the European level, it is a founding member of the European Free Trade Association, but notably not part of the European Union, the European Economic Area or the Eurozone. However, it participates in the Schengen Area and the European Single Market through bilateral treaties. Spanning the intersection of Germanic and Romance Europe, Switzerland comprises four main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French and Romansh. Although the majority of the population are German-speaking, Swiss national identity is rooted in a common historical background, shared values such as federalism and direct democracy, Alpine symbolism. Due to its linguistic diversity, Switzerland is known by a variety of native names: Schweiz. On coins and stamps, the Latin name – shortened to "Helvetia" – is used instead of the four national languages.
Switzerland is one of the most developed countries in the world, with the highest nominal wealth per adult and the eighth-highest per capita gross domestic product according to the IMF. Switzerland ranks at or near the top globally in several metrics of national performance, including government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic competitiveness and human development. Zürich and Basel have all three been ranked among the top ten cities in the world in terms of quality of life, with the first ranked second globally, according to Mercer in 2018; the English name Switzerland is a compound containing Switzer, an obsolete term for the Swiss, in use during the 16th to 19th centuries. The English adjective Swiss is a loan from French Suisse in use since the 16th century; the name Switzer is from the Alemannic Schwiizer, in origin an inhabitant of Schwyz and its associated territory, one of the Waldstätten cantons which formed the nucleus of the Old Swiss Confederacy. The Swiss began to adopt the name for themselves after the Swabian War of 1499, used alongside the term for "Confederates", used since the 14th century.
The data code for Switzerland, CH, is derived from Latin Confoederatio Helvetica. The toponym Schwyz itself was first attested in 972, as Old High German Suittes perhaps related to swedan ‘to burn’, referring to the area of forest, burned and cleared to build; the name was extended to the area dominated by the canton, after the Swabian War of 1499 came to be used for the entire Confederation. The Swiss German name of the country, Schwiiz, is homophonous to that of the canton and the settlement, but distinguished by the use of the definite article; the Latin name Confoederatio Helvetica was neologized and introduced after the formation of the federal state in 1848, harking back to the Napoleonic Helvetic Republic, appearing on coins from 1879, inscribed on the Federal Palace in 1902 and after 1948 used in the official seal.. Helvetica is derived from the Helvetii, a Gaulish tribe living on the Swiss plateau before the Roman era. Helvetia appears as a national personification of the Swiss confederacy in the 17th century with a 1672 play by Johann Caspar Weissenbach.
Switzerland has existed as a state in its present form since the adoption of the Swiss Federal Constitution in 1848. The precursors of Switzerland established a protective alliance at the end of the 13th century, forming a loose confederation of states which persisted for centuries; the oldest traces of hominid existence in Switzerland date back about 150,000 years. The oldest known farming settlements in Switzerland, which were found at Gächlingen, have been dated to around 5300 BC; the earliest known cultural tribes of the area were members of the Hallstatt and La Tène cultures, named after the archaeological site of La Tène on the north side of Lake Neuchâtel. La Tène culture developed and flourished during the late Iron Age from around 450 BC under some influence from the Gree
Rudolph Nissen was a surgeon who chaired surgery departments in Turkey, the United States and Switzerland. The Nissen fundoplication, a surgical procedure for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease, is named after him. Nissen completed the first pneumonectomy by a Western physician in 1931. In 1948, he performed an abdominal surgery that extended the life of Albert Einstein by several years, he trained under German physicians Ludwig Ferdinand Sauerbruch. Nissen was born in a Jewish-German family in Neisse, German Empire, in 1896, he was the son of a well-known surgeon. Rudolph Nissen pursued medical studies in Munich and Breslau, he trained in pathology under influential physician Ludwig Aschoff at the University of Freiburg. During the First World War he served in a medical corps unit and was injured by a gunshot in his lung which led to lifelong problems with his lung, he finished his medical studies after the war. In 1921, he came to the University of Munich as an assistant to German surgeon Ferdinand Sauerbruch.
Six years Sauerbruch and Nissen moved to the Charité at the University of Berlin. In 1933, Nissen became the surgery department head at Istanbul University; the move was prompted by Hitler's Jewish boycott, although Nissen was at first not directly affected by anti-Jewish legislation because he had been an active World War I front soldier. Nissen left Turkey for the United States in 1939, he was a surgery research fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital for two years. He spent several years in New York as chair of the surgery programs at Jewish Hospital and Maimonides Medical Center, he was a department head at the University of Basel from 1952 to his retirement in 1967. He died in 1981 in Riehen. While in Istanbul in 1936, Nissen excised an esophageal ulcer from a 28-year-old patient; the operation required Nissen to remove a portion of the lower esophagus and join the remaining esophagus to the stomach. In an effort to avoid the backflow of stomach contents into the patient's esophagus, Nissen wrapped folds of the patient's upper stomach around the lower esophagus.
Following the patient subsequently, Nissen noted that the patient's problems with heartburn improved after surgery. Through the 1940s and 1950s, Nissen treated many patients with hiatal hernias using conventional methods developed by other surgeons, he performed one of these procedures, an anterior gastropexy, on eminent radiologist Gustav Bucky. Bucky was ill when he presented to Nissen, but he recovered. Though Bucky remained asymptomatic for at least 15 years, many patients experienced relapses. By 1955, Nissen began to think back on the successful procedure in Istanbul. Now based in Basel, he operated on two patients with reflux esophagitis, wrapping a portion of the stomach around the lower esophagus, he published the results of the two cases in 1956. By training under Sauerbruch, Nissen developed unique skill in surgery of the chest. Through his own mentoring by Polish-Austrian surgeon Jan Mikulicz-Radecki, Sauerbruch had learned to perform thoracic surgery by use of a pressure chamber before it was possible to give anesthesia to patients through breathing tubes.
In 1931, Nissen treated a 12-year-old girl who had sustained a crush injury to the chest with chronic pus production from the left lung. Nissen elected to perform removal of the lung; the first surgery was halted. The patient was stabilized and the second phase of the pneumonectomy was completed two weeks later; the patient survived for several years. Nissen was the first Western physician to complete the procedure. In December 1948, Nissen admitted Albert Einstein to Jewish Hospital for removal of intestinal cysts. However, the scientist was suffering from an abdominal aortic aneurysm. An aneurysm is a dilatation. In the portion of the aorta that runs through the abdomen, aneurysms are asymptomatic until rupture is immiment. AAA rupture can cause immediate death from exsanguination. Definitive surgical treatment for AAA had not been devised in the 1940s. Beginning in 1943, reinforcement with cellophane had been used to induce fibrosis in the vessel, decreasing the risk of rupture. Nissen wrapped the aneurysm with cellophane and Einstein recovered from the surgery.
Upon his hospital discharge, Einstein was surrounded by photographers and he was photographed with his tongue sticking out at them. He sent an autographed newspaper clipping of the photo to Nissen with the inscription "To Nissen my tummy / The world my tongue." Einstein lived for several years. Einstein died in a Princeton, New Jersey hospital in 1955. Initial news reports listed gallbladder inflammation as the cause of death. However, his medical team had suspected gallbladder irritation resulting from a leaking AAA. An autopsy conducted by pathologist Thomas Harvey showed that he died of a leaking AAA. By the time of Einstein's death, surgical AAA repair was technically possible but still uncertain; the surgeon who saw Einstein in Princeton, Frank Glenn of New York Hospital, proposed surgery. Einstein was in his seventies and he elected to die peacefully rather than undergo surgery. "I want to go when I want," Einstein told his physicians. He told his secretary Helen Dukas, "I can die without the help of the doctors."
He told her that it was "tasteless to prolong life artificially. I have done my share, it is time to go. I will do it elegantly." The Rudolf Nissen Prize is awarded by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Allgemein- und Viszeralchirurgie (German Society of General