Setting Aside All Authority
Giovanni Battista Riccioli and the Science against Copernicus in the Age of Galileo
288 pages, 6.00 x 9.00
Paperback | 9780268029883 | April 2015
eBook (PDF) | 9780268158620 | April 2015
eBook (EPUB) | 9780268080778 | April 2015
Setting Aside All Authority is an important account and analysis of seventeenth-century scientific arguments against the Copernican system. Christopher M. Graney challenges the long-standing ideas that opponents of the heliocentric ideas of Copernicus and Galileo were primarily motivated by religion or devotion to an outdated intellectual tradition, and that they were in continual retreat in the face of telescopic discoveries. Graney calls on newly translated works by anti-Copernican writers of the time to demonstrate that science, not religion, played an important, and arguably predominant, role in the opposition to the Copernican system. Anti-Copernicans, building on the work of the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, were in fact able to build an increasingly strong scientific case against the heliocentric system at least through the middle of the seventeenth century, several decades after the advent of the telescope. The scientific case reached its apogee, Graney argues, in the 1651 New Almagest of the Italian Jesuit astronomer Giovanni Battista Riccioli, who used detailed telescopic observations of stars to construct a powerful scientific argument against Copernicus. Setting Aside All Authority includes the first English translation of Monsignor Francesco Ingoli’s essay to Galileo (disputing the Copernican system on the eve of the Inquisition’s condemnation of it in 1616) and excerpts from Riccioli's reports regarding his experiments with falling bodies.
Christopher M. Graney is professor of physics at Jefferson Community & Technical College. He is the author of Setting Aside All Authority: Giovanni Battista Riccioli and the Science against Copernicus in the Age of Galileo (University of Notre Dame Press, 2015).
"The arguments of both Riccioli and Graney are complicated and subtle. Even so, I had little difficulty following them, thanks to Graney's lucid prose and clear diagrams. If you think you know Riccioli, or if you want to know him better, pick up this book. Graney's re-reading of the New Almagest is absolutely convincing, and Setting Aside All Authority is sure to become the standard text on the 'science vs. science' debate between Riccioli and the supporters of heliocentrism." ~Sky and Telescope
"For students of the Copernican revolution, here is an unexpected contribution that will force the experts to revise their lecture notes. Christopher Graney (with translation assistance from Christina Graney) has almost single-handedly revised the traditional story about Jesuit Giambattista Riccioli’s list of pro and con arguments for the heliocentric cosmology. Big surprise: in 1651 the geocentric cosmology had science on its side." ~Owen Gingerich, author of God's Planet
“Surprising or not, Graney’s rehabilitation of Riccioli is an interesting contribution to the history of astronomy.” ~The Heythrop Journal