Church and Galileo
406 pages, 6.00 x 9.00
Paperback | 9780268034849 | May 2005
Hardcover | 9780268034832 | May 2005
"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
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.
Ernan McMullin (1924–2011) was John Cardinal O'Hara Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame.
"An exceptionally fine work. . . . It becomes the new standard of reference on the relations of Galileo to the church. . . ." --Times Literary Supplement
"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
"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 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
"It differs from the many books about the notorious trial in that . . . it offers multiple approaches. Discussed here are such topics as Galileo's career 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
"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/p>
“This collection of 13 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
“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 . . . 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
"...those 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