Analysis Of Galileo Galilei's Letter To The Grand Duchess Christina '

Topics: Nicolaus Copernicus, Heliocentrism, Johannes Kepler Pages: 6 (1439 words) Published: March 25, 2018


Science and Scripture
Galileo Galilei was an Italian astronomer, mathematician, and natural philosopher who made paramount contributions to science as we know it today. At a time of a growing polarization of thought on the motions of heavenly bodies, Galileo took a stance in support of the Copernican theory of heliocentrism— with the sun being placed at the center of the solar system rather than the biblical teachings at the time of a geocentric, Earth-centered model. When writing his “Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina” with the seemingly simple goal of informing an interested individual of a misunderstood science in relation to a more widely accepted belief, Galileo achieved far more with a message far ahead of its time that can still...

In Castelli’s letter, he writes about a dinner with the mother of one of his patrons, Cosimo II de Medici, and Cosimo Boscaglia, a Professor of Philosophy. At the dinner, a question of how telescopic studies could be reconciled with Holy Scripture was posed by The Grand Duchess Christina (Moss 244). Boscaglia argued against the Bible’s stance on the movements of the Earth. After the dinner, Christina called for Castelli to answer to arguments on the motions of the Earth in scripture. Herewith, Galileo began writing a letter addressing Christina due to her apparent interest to learn more about the study of astronomy in relation to theology. Galileo provides his input on the correlation between science and scripture while explaining that the Copernican theory was not an opposition to scripture, but rather, that the motion of heavenly bodies were natural laws. He also wished to dissuade the Church from condemning Nicolaus Copernicus’s piece about heavenly movement, On the Revolution of Celestial Spheres. Albeit that might be the overall reasoning behind the letter, Galileo was also reaching out to gain protection against his opponents to heliocentrism by contacting Christina, who was a part of a powerful and influential family. During this time, the controversy over science and scripture became more prominent and consequently, Galileo revised and expanded his letter which came to be known as the “Letter to the Grand Duchess...
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