Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina of Tuscany. (). (abridged) by Galileo Galilei. To the Most Serene Grand Duchess Mother: Some years ago, as Your. In , Galileo wrote a letter to the Grand Duchess Christina of Tuscany in order to show how one could argue for the heliocentric system. “Contrary to the sense of the Bible and the intention of the holy Fathers they would have us altogether abandon reason and the evidence of.
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Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina – Wikipedia
And therefore we should seek the incontrovertible sense of the Bible with the assistance of demonstrated truth, and not in any way try to force the hand of Nature or deny experiences and rigorous proofs in accordance with the mere sound of words that may appeal to our frailty.
Galileo argued that the Copernican theory was not just a mathematical calculating tool, but a physical reality. One should not wonder that everyone conspires to damn him. The geocentric view had been dominant since the time of Aristotle, and the controversy engendered by Galileo’s presentation of heliocentrism as proven fact resulted in the Catholic Church’s prohibiting its advocacy as empirically proven fact, because it was not empirically proven at the time and was contrary to the literal meaning of Scripture.
No one should be scorned in physical disputes for not holding to the opinions which happen to please other people best, especially concerning problems which have been debated among the greatest philosophers for thousands of years. A compromise was worked out, where Galileo would be tutored full-time in mathematics by the mathematician of the Tuscan court.
Furthermore, the gran of the letter was combative and overly proud. There is a great difference between commanding a mathematician or a philosopher and influencing a lawyer or a merchant, for demonstrated conclusions about things in nature or in the heavens galileoo be changed with the same facility as opinions about what is or is not lawful in a contract, bargain, or bill of exchange.
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Whereas his critics took the stopping of the sun to mean that sun halts its orbit around the Earth, Galileo interpreted it with a different astronomical viewpoint. The former, glancing superficially through the Bible, would arrogate to themselves the authority to decree upon every question of physics on the strength of some word which they have misunderstood, and which was employed by the sacred authors for some different purpose.
And the smaller number of understanding men could not dam up the furious torrent of such people, who would gain the majority of followers simply because it is much more pleasant to gain a reputation for wisdom without effort or study than to consume oneself tirelessly in the most laborious disciplines. Except for mathematics, Galileo was bored with university. Thanks for telling us about the problem. For if we were to test the capacity of the common people, we should find them even less apt to be persuaded of the stability of the sun and the motion of the earth than to believe that the space which environs the earth is filled with air.
If the Bible, accommodating itself to the capacity of the common people, has on one occasion expressed yo proposition in words of different sense from the essence of that proposition, then why might it not have done the same, and for the same reason, whenever the cyristina thing happened to be spoken of?
Journal of the History of Ideas. I do not wish to place in the number of such lay writers some theologians whom I consider men of profound learning and devout behavior, and who are therefore held by me in great esteem and veneration. Of this mathematician nothing is known beyond the fact that some of the ancients credited him instead of Philolaus with the astronomy which came to be associated talileo the Pythagoreans in general.
They know that it is human nature to take up causes whereby a man may oppress his neighbor, no matter how unjustly, rather than those from which a man may receive some just encouragement.
To these men I reply that it would require many subtle and profound reasonings to find out which of these things is actually so; but to undertake this and discuss it is consistent neither with my leisure nor with the duty of those whom I desire to instruct in essential matters more directly conducing to their salvation and to the benefit of the holy Church.
If I am correct, it will stand them in no stead to go running to the Bible to cover up their inability to understand let alone resolve their opponents’ arguments, for the opinion which they fight has never been condemned by the holy Church. This is wiser counsel than to condemn either side in the absence of such certainty, thus depriving oneself of continued authority and ability to choose by determining things which are now undetermined and open and still lodged in the will of supreme authority.
There are men who, in defense of propositions which they do not understand, apply—and in a way commit—some text of the Bible, and then proceed to magnify their original error by adducing other passages that are even less understood than the first.
Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina by Galileo Galilei
On the question whether we are to believe that the heaven moves or stands still, he writes thus: The first concerns those writings which ducgess published against the existence of the Medicean planets recently discovered by me, in which many passages of holy Scripture were cited. Lucas Fache rated it liked it Feb 25, People who are unable to understand perfectly both the Bible and the sciences far outnumber those who do understand.
About the time Galileo arrived at FlorenceSizzi departed for Franco, where he came into association with some good mathematicians. This doctrine is so widespread and so definite with all theologians that it would be superfluous to adduce evidence for it.
Letter to Madame Christina of Lorraine, Grand Duchess of Tuscany
Galileo has been called the “father of modern observational astronomy”, the “father of modern physics”, the “father of science”, and “the Father of Modern Galilo. The sun, then, being the font of light and the source of motion, when God willed that at Joshua’s command the whole system of the world should rest and should remain for many hours in the same state, it sufficed to make the sun stand still. They go about invoking the Bible, which they would have minister to their deceitful purposes.
Now as to the false aspersions glileo they so unjustly seek to cast upon me, I have thought it necessary to justify myself in the eyes of all men, whose judgment in matters thr religion and of reputation I must hold in great esteem. Want to Read Currently Reading Read.
Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina
Therefore I declare and my sincerity will make itself manifest christian only that I mean to submit myself freely and renounce any errors into which I may fall in this discourse through ignorance of matters pertaining to religion, but lehter I do not desire in these matters to engage in disputes with anyone, even on points that are disputable. He would not require us to deny sense and reason in physical matters which are set before our eyes and minds by direct experience or necessary demonstrations.
From the above words I conceive that I may deduce this doctrine: Since I hold these to be of supreme authority, I consider it rank temerity for anyone to contradict them—when employed according to the usage of the holy Church, Yet I do not believe it is wrong to speak out when there is reason to suspect that other men wish, for some personal cjristina, to produce and employ such authorities for purposes quite different from the sacred intention of the holy Church. I shall say further that not only respect for the incapacity of the vulgar, but also current opinion in those times, made the sacred authors accommodate themselves in matters unnecessary to salvation more to accepted usage than to the true essence of things.
Who indeed will set bounds to human ingenuity?