Galileo: Heretic?

Powerful Essays
Galileo Galilei is well known by many, but it is hard to pin point the exact reason behind this apparent fame, he became famous in terms of early empirical science late on in his life, when he wrote his text on the dynamics of rigid bodies – ‘Dialogues concerning the Two New Sciences ' which is a forerunner of Isaac Newton 's Laws of Motion. However this branch of science was not his passion or what he spent most of his life arguing and theorising about. Galileo was interested in the Copernican theory of a Heliocentric system, however Galileo lived in a time when the Catholic Church was very powerful and controlled a large amount of Europe, Galileo fought for his beliefs for twenty years (1613-1633) but was branded guilty of suspicion of heresy by the inquisition. A heretic is someone who believes in or publicises heresy, which is an opinion contrary to what is normally accepted, in this case by the doctrine of the Catholic Church. In writing this essay I intend to analyse the reasoning why the Catholic Church found such a verdict, I will look into whether the Church just had a fundamental disregard for all scientific research, maybe due to the problems of the lack of unity of the Catholic Church. Were the Church right to find such a verdict in view of the times they were living in? This should then lead me on to look at the effects of the negative spin put onto the Copernican system by the Catholics.

Galileo never finished his university education due to the costs involved however he did manage to become a lecturer at Pisa, where apparently he performed his famous velocity experiment of dropping to differently weighted object off the Leaning Tower showing that they land at the same time, disproving Aristotle 's theory. He later takes a post at the University of Padua which he won instead of Giordano Bruno, who was later executed (1600) as a heritic for his belief in the Copernican System , Galileo stayed in Padua for eighteen years. Whilst there Galileo



Bibliography: Redondi, Pietro, translated by Raymond Rosenthal (1989). Galileo: Heretic. Princeton University Press. Russell, Bertrand (1961). History of Western Philosophy. Unwin University Books Tarnas, Richard (1996) Websites: http://en.wikipedia.org (2005) Giordano Bruno, http://www.free-definition.com/Giordano-Bruno.html (last accessed 08/03/05) Trueman, C (2002) The Council of Trent, http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk, http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/council_of_trent.htm (last accessed 08/03/05) Also of use:

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    Galileo vs. Church

    • 375 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Galileo is viewed as the father of modern science because he made and tested theories which we still go by in the current years. In the present day we are thought and live by the heliocentric theory. This basically means that the sun in in the center and the planets are in its orbit. The Roman Catholic Church believed that the earth was in the center, therefore the sun and other planets were in the Earth’s orbit.…

    • 375 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    He applied mathematics to his experiments and also used a telescope to make astronomical observations. He discovered mountains on the moon, spots on the sun, and also the four moons of Jupiter; observations that contradicted traditional beliefs that the heavens were perfect. {EXT.} In a letter to Galileo, an Italian monk named Giovanni Campioli tells Galileo, “remove the possibility of malignant rumors by repeatedly showing your willingness to defer to the authority of those who have jurisdiction over the human intellect in matters of the interpretation of Scriptures.” (Doc. 6) This document may be biased because Campioli was a monk, a religious figure, and only considered the universe a religious subject and that, therefore, he thought would make him a more reliable source than Galileo. He wrote this letter perhaps to try and withhold his authority over religious persons and suppress Galileo by insinuating it was in everyone’s best interest. [POV] Galileo was eventually brought before the Italian Inquisition for his theories. The traditional religious beliefs obviously affected his work in a similar way as Copernicus as he had to be careful who he talked to for fear of being found out by the church. Both scientists were limited in what they could do because of the fact that they were contradicting what the church…

    • 821 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The scientific revolution of the Renaissance had its start with Copernican heliocentrism and its culmination, a century later, with Newtonian mechanics. His most eminent representative, however, was the Italian scientist Galileo Galilei. In the field of physics, Galileo made the first laws of motion; in the astronomy department, he confirmed the Copernican theory with his telescopic observations. But none of these valuable contributions have had such significant consequences as the introduction of the experimental methodology, an achievement that earned him the title of father of modern science.…

    • 979 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Ap Euro Unit 4 Outline

    • 368 Words
    • 2 Pages

    * Galileo supported the Copernican theory and his findings made people question the catholic doctrines. Galileo was put on house arrest for the rest of his life and this caused people to question the extent at which religion answered all questions.…

    • 368 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Better Essays

    Why Galileo Was Condemned

    • 1311 Words
    • 6 Pages

    Essentially Galileo was condemned for questioning the accepted, traditional explanation of the universe as supported by the Catholic Church at the time. Not only was Protestantism dealing heavy religious and political blows to the Church’s dominance in Europe, so to was an increasingly questioning scientific community of which Galileo seemed to be the most vocal combatant. Whilst he certainly didn’t question God’s involvement in the creation of the universe, the manner in which he did question accepted norms elicited a correspondingly heavy handed response from those that often felt ridiculed by his methodology.…

    • 1311 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Better Essays

    Galileo was an Italian who proved Copernicus’ heliocentricity theory with highly accurate math. However, the Catholic Church didn’t like this and forced him to go in front of an audience and say that he lied. If he didn’t he would be excommunicated or killed.…

    • 2741 Words
    • 11 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Galileo theory of the Earth revolving around the sun had him almost executed by the Roman Catholic Church. Galileo’s use of the telescope marked him as a modern science marvel. His discoveries spanned from the moons of Jupiter to the moon. In relation to cosmology, Galileo’s contributions to the understanding of the universe and how it begun helped shape the modernization of cosmology. It was not until later that Galileo’s contributions were proven to be liable and relative. Present-day cosmology continues to make theories and observations in attempt to prove out or further discover the realms of the universe.…

    • 946 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Galileo, Italian physicist, mathematician and astronomer, showed his humanity by rejecting Church teaching on the centrality of the Earth in the universe. Instead he championed Heliocentrism, the notion that placed the sun, and not the earth, at the center of the orbital paths of many observable bodies in outer space, a truth since validated by astronomers and mathematicians of his and later times. Galileo, by his disobedience, suffered ignominy for his beliefs; found guilty of heresy by the Roman Inquisition, he was sentenced to serve a prison term and placed under house arrest for the rest of his life. But if not for Galileo and others like him, Neil Armstrong would not have been able to land on the moon, nor mechanical human proxies named Sojourner, Opportunity and Curiosity to survey the surface of Mars.…

    • 802 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    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…

    • 1439 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    -Copernicus published his findings in 1543, the same years as his death, in a text entitled (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres).…

    • 1679 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Galileo Accomplishments

    • 600 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Whenever history is reviewed on Astronomy, great Scientists such as Nicholas Copernicus and Galileo Galilei must be mentioned for their great contribution in the world of Astronomy. Comparing Copernicus with Galileo, we see that Copernicus made great discoveries which Galileo would later use in making his scientific discoveries and proofs. Copernicus is regarded to as the father of Astronomy because of his great contribution towards making the universe understandable to many people. This essay focuses on major accomplishments of Nicholas Copernicus and how Galilei Galileo used them later to become successful scientist explorer.…

    • 600 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Best Essays

    In summer of 1609, Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) pointed his revolutionary astronomical telescope to the heavens under the starry Venetian sky; his greatly important observations unveiled the mysteries of universe and would end up changing the course of scientific thought forever. Galileo lived in an age where there was much status quo, when scientists and philosophers would accept scientific and religious doctrine that had stood for hundreds, if not thousands, of years instead of challenging the accepted knowledge in favor of intellectual progress. Galileo’s scientific methods lead to significant discoveries explaining key scientific laws, such as the orientation of the universe, the motion of free falling bodies, and the Galilean principle of relativity. Galileo’s equal interest in a diversity of studies from the largest of celestial bodies to the motion of minuscule free falling pebbles and water droplets upon a ship show his immense scientific interest and his discoveries cannot be overstated as he has been widely accredited as the founder of a new rational science.…

    • 1850 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Best Essays
  • Good Essays

    Copernicus' thoughts were believed by some, but denied the majority of the time. His thoughts were carried on to Galileo Galilei. Galileo created an astronomical telescope and viewed the planets as much as anyone in the world. He came to find that moons orbited around certain planets. This helped support Copernicus' theory. His discovery caused an uproar, again challenging the beliefs of the church and many others. This time, many more people supported the heliocentric theory, which in turn changed society forever. Galileo's supporting of Copernicus' theory brought him to trial. His case was dropped when he said publicly that his supporting of Copernicus' theory was incorrect. He said this publicly, but deep inside, he knew he was right.…

    • 480 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    About 600 years ago, the church was considered law. No one could defy its teachings and whosoever did so was publicly beheaded. One of the theories of the church was that the earth was the center of the universe and that other planets revolved around it. Copernicus was a genius who had a great interest in astronomy. It was he who stated that the sin was the hub around which all other planets revolved. In this case Copernicus was a non conformist i.e. he believed in something that was against the religious teachings/implications of the church, but his being non conformist was the sole cause of the development of a theory that bought about a great change in the scientific perspective of astronomy.…

    • 542 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Galileo Galilei, the protagonist of Life of Galileo, was put at odds with himself, forced to face an internal conflict. He was a university lecture by occupation, but was first and foremost a researcher, specifically interested in astrology. However, Galileo was financially struggling. In order to advance his findings, he found himself in a personal predicament; to lie about inventing the telescope to gain 500 scudi. Unashamedly, Galileo fabricated that it was his own invention to procure the extra funding. Although this deceptive act caused dispute, both within Galileo, and later on in the play with the Procurator, it demonstrated the need for conflict to enable progress. Galileo so blatantly stole someone else’s invention, as he saw it as an opportunity to help himself and the greater society by advancing his own research, rather than an issue of moral responsibility. By pushing aside this conflict, he was able to progress his learning and find evidence of a heliocentric solar system, rather than the geocentric model advocated by the Church. Furthermore, the extra 500 scudi allowed Galileo to continue to subsist- moving him forward from his financial troubles. When he was confronted…

    • 1056 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Better Essays