Galileo, Bellarmine, and the Bible: Including a Translation of Foscarini's Letter on the Motion of the Earth
University of Notre Dame Press, 1991 - Religion - 291 pages
Considered the paradigm case of the troubled interaction between science and religion, the conflict between Galileo and the Church continues to generate new research and lively debate. Richard J. Blackwell offers a fresh approach to the Galileo case, using as his primary focus the biblical and ecclesiastical issues that were the battleground for the celebrated confrontation. Blackwell's research in the Vatican manuscript collection and the Jesuit archives in Rome enables him to re-create a vivid picture of the trends and counter-trends that influenced leading Catholic thinkers of the period: the conservative reaction to the Reformation, the role of authority in biblical exegesis and in guarding orthodoxy from the inroads of "unbridled spirits," and the position taken by Cardinal Bellarmine and the Jesuits in attempting to weigh the discoveries of the new science in the context of traditional philosophy and theology. A centerpiece of Blackwell's investigation is his careful reading of the brief treatise Letter on the Motion of the Earth by Paolo Antonio Foscarini, a Carmelite scholar, arguing for the compatibility of the Copernican system with the Bible. Blackwell appends the first modern translation into English of this important and neglected document, which was placed on the Index of Forbidden Books in 1616. Though there were differing and competing theories of biblical interpretation advocated in Galileo's time?the legacy of the Council of Trent, the views of Cardinal Bellarmine, the most influential churchman of his time, and, finally, the claims of authority and obedience that weakened the abillity of Jesuit scientists to support the new science?all contributed to the eventual condemnation of Galileo in 1633. Blackwell argues convincingly that the maintenance of ecclesiastical authority, not the scientific issues themselves, led to that tragic trial.
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Trent and Beyond
Bellarmines Views Before the Galileo Affair
Galileos Detour into Biblical Exegesis
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accept according affair agree appear Appendix arguments astronomers authority believe Bellarmine Bible biblical bodies Cardinal Catholic cause chapter Church claim clear clearly common concern condemnation contained contrary Copernicanism Copernicus Council Council of Trent decision Decree defend demonstrated direct discussion doctrine documents doubt earth effect especially established evidence example explains fact false Fathers Foscarini Galileo hand happened heavens Holy Holy Spirit human important interpretation issue Jesuit judge knowledge later letter light literal matters of faith meaning morals motion moves namely natural never obedience Office Opere opinion passages person philosophers Pope present principle propositions published question reason refers relation religion religious result revealed Rome rules Sacred Scripture scientific Scrip seems sense simply speak specific stars taken teaching theological things tion tradition trial true truth understanding universe views whole writings written