What does the 'resp.' mean here?

STRAUSS (Laur.) resp. Franc. PETERSEN, Diss. de potu coffi. Giessen, 1666, in-4°.

Context: This is a bibliographic entry concerning one of the first books to discuss coffee (plant, seeds, & drink) in Europe. Attribution for the entire genre seems to be a mess (e.g. one Huguenot from Lyons may have used the name of his apothecary cousin as a pseudonym while in exile or his cousin may have plagiarized and updated his earlier work without him) but here the Disputation on the Puissance of Coffee (reprinted at Frankfurt the same year as De Potu Coffi) seems to have been a medical school dissertation written by Franz Peters (not Petersen) with Lorenz Strauss as his faculty advisor. Because of confusion over their roles, Strauss sometimes gets credited as the writer and even got a genus of coffee relatives (Straussia) named after him.

Wiktionary mentions resp. can mean 'respectivement' but that doesn't seem to be what it is in this entry. Any ideas?

2 Answers 2


This abbreviation appears multiple times in that book and other bibliographies, always under the form "A resp. B". B is a Doctorate in Medicine student and has published a dissertatio written under the supervision of A.

The usual word resp. abbreviates in French is respectivement but would make no sense here.

Another possible word is responsable or responsabilité. That would make sense as A can be seen as the responsable of the student for his work.

A third option, my initial guess, would be the Latin responsa, meaning "reply (to)". Many abbreviations present in these bibliographies are based on Latin words.

The fourth option is very close, and is the French respondant, modern French répondant (the one who replies), and is more than likely the right term as it perfectly matches the context:

Furetière Respondant

s. m. Celuy qui soustient des Theses en quelque science que ce soit. Il a ainsi argumenté contre le Respondant. Les distinguo sont extremement favorables aux Respondants.

TLFi Répondant

♦ Vx. Celui qui soutient une thèse et doit répondre aux objections. L'argumentant et le répondant. (Dict. XIXe et XXe s.).

Académie 8e édition Répondant :

Celui, celle qui répond. Il s'est dit spécialement de Celui qui subit un examen public, qui soutient une thèse. Le président et le répondant. Ce répondant a fort bien soutenu son examen, sa thèse.

This is confirmed too by looking to a German reference to this very same document:

656 Strauss, Laurentius [Praes.] u. Franz Peters (Frankf. a. M.) [Resp.] Disputatio physico-medica de potu coffi.

Here Strauss is presiding (Latin praesidens) and Peters(en) is responding (Latin respondens).

  • Thanks for your time. =) That would be incorrect but, given the oreille de cochon of attribution surrounding this issue, hardly surprising. Do you have some support or examples from elsewhere that suggest that's the most likely meaning here?
    – lly
    Jun 19, 2019 at 8:33
  • No... I think you must be right. This German .pdf describes the same book as "Strauss, Laurentius [Praes.] u. Franz Peters (Frankf. a. M.) [Resp.] Disputatio physico-medica de potu coffi. Giessae Hass. April 1666: Karger. (2), 17 S. 4° placidae disquisitioni." I know praes. is short for some Latin version of "preside" so the resp. should be Latin for some version of "response", in reference to the student providing the dissertation.
    – lly
    Jun 19, 2019 at 18:23
  • If you have time to come back and clean up your answer (ideally with a ref and description of praes. and resp. but in any case to show that responsa seems to have been the right answer, if not exactly French), I'd be happy to go ahead and tick it correct.
    – lly
    Jun 19, 2019 at 18:25

Given the sentence:

a medical school dissertation written by Franz Peters (not Petersen) with Lorenz Strauss as his faculty advisor.

I suggest: responsable ("responsible")

  • Thanks for your time. =) That would fit the context but do you have any sources or examples from elsewhere that suggest that is what's being said here?
    – lly
    Jun 19, 2019 at 8:34
  • @lly: Have a look at here
    – Toto
    Jun 19, 2019 at 8:37

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