Edited by Ernan McMullin
“This is an exciting book. Ernan McMullin has brought together an international group of scholars to reflect on and reevaluate the seminal confrontation between Galileo and the Church, from the point of view of both Galileo and his ecclesiastical antagonists. In a series of thirteen essays, the authors offer new interpretations of the events, their background and their significance, in a number of cases based on newly released material from the Vatican archives. Together these essays illuminate not only Galileo and his context, but larger questions about the relations among theology, the study of nature, and religious and political institutions in the age of the Scientific Revolution and beyond.” —Daniel Garber, Princeton University
“The ‘Galileo affair’ has been the object of innumerable studies, which (taken as a whole) have spread nearly as much fog as they have sunshine. The studies in this volume, many of them based at least in part on newly discovered or released sources, have convincingly blown away much of that fog. This is easily the most important volume on the ‘Galileo affair’ ever produced.” —David C. Lindberg, University of Wisconsin
“Of great use to scholars and students in a wide variety of disciplines, this timely collection covers the background and aftermath of the Galileo case, two of the most important topics that have not been adequately treated. Using the new data of the past decade, the essays review the relevant history of contemporary interest in Galileo and the Church at a level and in such depth as has not been done before. It will become the standard reference work on Galileo and the Church.” —Peter Machamer, University of Pittsburgh
“This volume avoids the oversimplifications so prevalent in popular, journalistic representations of the Galileo Affair. Its often fresh interpretations resist the inflated theorizing found in some scholarly writing; its uncompromisingly careful contributions present a balanced and well-considered challenge to the scholarship underlying the Church’s most recent public pronouncements. This book is certain to be pivotal reference for a long time to come.” —Robert S. Westman, University of California, San Diego
This collection of first-rate essays aims to provide an accurate scholarly assessment of the relationship between the Roman Catholic Church and Galileo. In 1981, Pope John Paul II established a commission to inquire into the Church’s treatment of Galileo “in loyal recognition of wrongs, from whatever side they came,” hoping this way to “dispel the mistrust . . . between science and faith.” When the Galileo Commission finally issued its report in 1992, many scholars were disappointed by its inadequacies and its perpetuation of old defensive stratagems. This volume attempts what the Commission failed to provide—a historically accurate, scholarly, and balanced account of Galileo and his difficult relationship with the Roman Catholic Church.
Contributors provide careful analyses of the interactions of the Church and Galileo over the thirty years between 1612 and his death in 1642. They also explore the attitudes of theologians to the Copernican innovation prior to Galileo’s entry into the fray; survey the political landscape within which he lived; assess the effectiveness (or otherwise) of censorship of his work; and provide an analysis and occasional critique of the Church’s later responses to the Galileo controversy. The book is divided into three sections corresponding to the periods before, during, and after the original Galileo affair. Particular attention is paid to those topics that have been the most divisive among scholars and theologians. The Church and Galileo will be welcomed by all those interested in early modern history and early modern science.
Contributors: Michel-Pierre Lerner, Irving A. Kelter, Michael Shank, Ernan McMullin, Annibale Fantoli, Mariano Artigas, Rafael Martínez, William R. Shea, Francesco Beretta, Stéphane Garcia, John Heilbron, Michael Sharratt, and George Coyne.
“McMullin’s The Church and Galileo will surely become the sine qua non foundation for continuing reinterpretations of the Galileo Affair.” — Journal of the History of Astronomy
“The Church and Galileo is an exceptionally fine work, with a masterly summary of the whole affair by the editor. . . . This rich collection of essays becomes the new standard of reference on the relations of Galileo to the church, and not the least of its virtues is its conciseness.” — The Times Literary Supplement
“The recent opening of the archives of the Holy Office has allowed scholars to research new documents and materials concerning the matter. The scholars who contributed to this book have shed new light on many of the complexities. [The book] will be useful for students and faculty with a thorough understanding of relevant background material. Recommended.” — Choice
“This collection . . . gives testimony to the staying power of Galileo Galilei not only in ecclesial and scientific fields, but the human imagination as well. The scholarship is meticulous, bringing together some of the leading American and European experts in the history of science, astronomy, and early modern studies.” — Catholic Library World
“[T]hose interested in Galileo, the affair, and Church history will benefit from this book, which belongs in any library collection on the history of science and in particular on the Galileo affair.” — Cistercian Studies Quarterly
“Edited by Ernan McMullin, The Church and Galileo is a work of Galilean scholarship long overdue, but, as with all good things, well worth the wait . . . The Church and Galileo is, as far as I can tell, a book without any real weaknesses. Not only a work on Galileo, it is also universal in its attempt to contemplate the complex set of issues that link science to religion . . . McMullin and his collaborators should be congratulated in having written a book of sheer poetry.” — Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Quarterly
“. . . This is a highly welcome book; it brings together an excellent selection of scholars; it covers many crucial aspects of the Galileo affair; and it exhibits a high level of scholarly sophistication.” — ISIS
“This collection of essays certainly goes some way towards providing an intellectual and political context for Galileo’s confrontation with the Church between the critical years of 1616 and 1633. In the process, it eloquently responds to the shortcomings in the Galileo Commission. . . an important contribution to our understanding of this episode in the history of early modern science.” — Seventeenth-Century News
“It differs from the many books about the notorious trial in that, in lieu of one person’s (say, Pietro Redondi’s) possibly idiosyncratic accumulation and interpretation of the facts, it offers multiple approaches. Discussed here are such topics as: Galileo’s career as seen against the background of the complex politics of Florence, Venice, and Rome; the church’s opposition to Copernicus even before the advent of Galileo, as well as, in another essay, the post-1633 censorship of astronomy in Italy; the precise nature of the injunctions against teaching Copernicanism; the daring persistence of Galileo’s disobedience after the trial, as signaled by the 1636 publication of his 1615 Letter to Christina.” — Sixteenth Century Journal
“This collection of thirteen essays aim[s] to provide a historically accurate, scholarly, and balanced account of the relationship between the Roman Catholic Church and Galileo. . . . Particular attention is paid to those topics that have been the most divisive among scholars and theologians.” — Theology Digest
“. . . This excellent collection . . . offers many valuable insights into various dimensions of the Church’s response to Galileo and Copernicus in 1616 and 1632-33, and again in 1992.” — Renaissance Quarterly
Honorable mention in “The Best Science and Religion Books of 2005” by Science and Theology News