The Earth Moves: Galileo and the Roman Inquisition

The Earth Moves: Galileo and the Roman Inquisition

by Dan Hofstadter
     
 

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Celebrated, controversial, condemned, Galileo Galilei is a seminal figure in the history of science. But what really happened during his momentous 1633 trial for heresy? Galileo was a devout Catholic, and the Inquisition made no factual dispute of his claims. Dan Hofstadter explains this apparent paradox, vividly recounting the proceedings. He sorts through the

Overview

Celebrated, controversial, condemned, Galileo Galilei is a seminal figure in the history of science. But what really happened during his momentous 1633 trial for heresy? Galileo was a devout Catholic, and the Inquisition made no factual dispute of his claims. Dan Hofstadter explains this apparent paradox, vividly recounting the proceedings. He sorts through the intricate webs of patronage, examines the technology of Galileo's instruments, and reviews the cultural climate of that contentious era to explain why Galileo incurred such strident opposition. The Earth Moves offers a unique portrayal of Galileo as both humanist and scientist, deeply versed in philosophy and poetry, on easy terms with musicians, writers, and painters.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Hofstadter (Falling Palace: A Romance of Naples) draws upon his intimate knowledge of Italian culture, literature and art-as well as new material released from Vatican archives-for this political, scientific and psychological examination of the "first great clash of religion and science," between Galileo and Pope Urban VIII, two seminal figures who were, incredibly, once friends. The context for Galileo's 1633 trial involved political and scientific upheavals involving better technology (Galileo's major improvements on the telescope) and a 1616 Church edict against heliocentrism meant to protect the Scripture from the free interpretation of laypeople. Despite the political cost, Galileo produced a philosophic treatise on the subject, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief Systems (originally licensed for publication by the Church) that championed the "banned hypothesis thesis" and suggested that astronomical references in scripture were metaphorical. Hofstadter tells the concise, absorbing tale of Galileo's persecution with both sides of the conflict in mind, charting with grace the genesis of the Western world's most persistent ideological divide.
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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393338201
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
05/10/2010
Series:
Great Discoveries Series
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

Dan Hofstadter is the author of The Earth Moves and Falling Palace: A Romance of Naples (a finalist for the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for the Art of the Memoir). He has lived in Florence and Naples and speaks and reads Italian fluently. He lives in Rensselaerville, New York.

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