Letter of Cardinal Bellarmine to Paolo Antonio Foscarini concerning Galileo’s Theories

(1615)

Written in April 1615, the Letter of Cardinal Bellarmine to Paolo Antonio Foscarini concerning Galileo’s Theories is an important document in the first phases of the conflict that opposed the scientist Galileo Galilei to the Catholic Church and that resulted in his trial and indictment in 1633 for teaching a Copernican view of the universe. The debate between supporters of the new heliocentric Copernican model, where the earth and humankind lose their central place in the universe, and those who continued to defend the traditional Ptolemaic and Aristotelian system reveals the obstacles for science and scientists in gaining independence from religion and theologians. Aristotelian cosmology had become an integral part of Christian theology during the Middle Ages. Therefore, new physical and astronomical theories could be accepted only if they did not contradict Aristotelian cosmology and sacred scripture. Although Galileo himself had tried to prove that scientific discoveries...

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Galileo (Library of Congress)

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