BENEDIKT, MORITZ

BENEDIKT, MORITZ (1835–1920), Austrian neurologist, anthropometrist, and criminologist. Born in Eisenstadt, Hungary, Benedikt served as a surgeon in the Austrian army during the wars with Italy and Prussia in 1859 and 1866. Appointed a lecturer at the University of Vienna, he rose to become professor of neurology. He achieved eminence for his varied contributions to neuropathology, the localization of brain function, and electrotherapeutics, a field in which he made important innovations. His interest in electricity was not confined to its medical application but extended to generic physics, and he produced a number of significant studies on magnetism and electric current. He contributed to various branches of medical research, including the physiology and pathology of the circulatory system, and was one of the founders of electrotherapy. Benedikt also engaged in anthropometric studies of criminals, devoting particular attention to cephalometry and brain pathology and to criminal psychology. His studies in physical anthropology are to be found in his Anatomische Studien an Verbrecher-Gehirnen (1879; Anatomical Studies upon Brains of Criminals, 1881) and Kraniometrie und Kephalometrie (1888). These made him, together with Cesare Lombroso, one of the pioneers of criminal anthropology. Of diverse cultural interests and activist liberal propensities, he wrote on current affairs and contemporary literature and aesthetics, and participated actively in various reformist movements, notably the extension of women's suffrage. His memoirs, Aus Meinem Leben, appeared in 1906. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: S.R. Kagan, Jewish Medicine (1952), 374. (Ephraim Fischoff)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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