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 Madame Christina of Lorraine, Grand Duchess of Tuscany

They seemed to forget that the increase of known truths stimulates the investigation, establishment, and growth of the arts; not their diminution or destruction. Nathan Chan rated it really liked it May 09, But let us again consider the degree chrisstina which necessary demonstrations and sense experiences ought to be respected in physical conclusions, and the authority they have enjoyed at the hands of holy and learned theologians. For the Bible is not chained in every expression to conditions as strict as those which govern all physical effects; nor is God any less excellently revealed in Nature’s actions duchess in the sacred statements of the Bible.

No longer being able to deny them, these men now take refuge in obstinate silence, but being more than ever exasperated by that which has duchesd and quieted other men, they divert their thoughts to other fancies and seek new ways to damage me.

For crhistina 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 letterr filled with air. With our own eyes we see this movement to be slanted toward the south in the more remote part of the sun’s globe, and in the nearer part to tilt toward the north, in just the same manner as all the revolutions of the planets occur.

This tradition is no longer accepted. Again, to command that the very professors of astronomy themselves see to the refutation of their own observations and proofs as mere fallacies and sophisms is to enjoin something that lies beyond any possibility of accomplishment. Nitsa marked it as to-read Dec 08, Not to abolish and censure his whole book, but only to condemn as erroneous this particular proposition, would if I am not mistaken be a still greater detriment to the minds of men, since it would afford them occasion to see a proposition proved that it was heresy to believe.

Carolina Liechtenstein marked it as to-read Nov 14, Log In Sign Up. If the Bible, accommodating itself to the capacity of the common people, has on one occasion expressed a 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 same thing happened to be spoken of?


There were others who denied them or remained in doubt only because of their novel and unexpected character, and because they had not grwnd had the opportunity to see for themselves. Copernicus himself knew the power over our ideas that is exerted by custom and by our inveterate way of conceiving things since infancy. Since the Bible cannot err, it follows as a necessary consequence that anyone takes an erroneous and heretical position who maintains that the sun is inherently motionless and the earth movable.

Therefore let these men begin to apply themselves to an examination of the arguments of Copernicus and others, leaving condemnation of the doctrine as erroneous and heretical to the proper authorities.

The reason produced for condemning the opinion that the earth moves and the sun stands still is that in many places in the Bible one may read that the sun moves and the earth stands still. Especially chridtina view of the fact that these things in no way concern the primary purpose of the sacred writings, which is the service of God and the salvation of souls—matters infinitely beyond the comprehension of the common people.

Galileo’s championing of Copernicanism was controversial within his lifetime.

In addition there are astronomical arguments derived from many things in my new celestial discoveries that plainly confute the Ptolemaic system while admirably agreeing with and confirming the yrand hypothesis. Rather, Galileo states that he is addressing specifically two kinds of theologians. Some years ago, as Trand Serene Highness well knows, I discovered in the heavens many things that had not been seen before duchesss own age. Cajetan 42 is of this opinion, to which Magellan 43 subscribes, confirming it with the remark that Joshua had already done too many things that day before commanding the sun to stand still for him to have done them in half a day.

Akiva Rube rated it really liked it Apr 11, These people understand neither the Bible nor science, and yet they grant themselves the authority to pass judgement on both, says Galileo.

Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina

In it Sizzi had reported, christiha rather cryptically, upon some French observations concerning sunspots, and it was probably this which led Galileo to his knowledge of the tilt of the sun’s axis. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Possibly because they are disturbed by the known truth of other propositions of mine which differ cuchess those commonly held, and therefore mistrusting their defense so long as they confine themselves to the field of philosophy, these men have resolved to fabricate a shield for their fallacies out of the mantle of pretended religion and the authority of the Bible.

And to ban Copernicus now that his doctrine thhe daily reinforced by many new observations and by the teh applying themselves to the reading of his book, after this opinion has been allowed and tolerated for those many years during which it was less followed and less confirmed, leter seem in my judgment to be a contravention of truth, and an attempt to hide and suppress her the more as she revealed herself the more clearly and plainly.

Likewise, that which presents itself to mere sight is as nothing in comparison with the high marvels that the ingenuity of learned men discovers in the heavens by long and accurate observation. If Chrkstina 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.

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Therefore if Joshua had intended his words to be taken in their pure and proper sense, he would have ordered the sun to accelerate its own motion in such a way that the impulse from the primum mobile would not carry it westward.

On Galileo’s Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina | Mavaddat Javid –

He attempted to manipulate the Duchess by attempting to attain her sympathy by mentioning the unfair attacks made against his honor. My goal is this alone; that if, among errors that may abound in these considerations of a subject remote from my profession, there is anything that galjleo be serviceable to the gfand Church in making a decision concerning the Copernican system, it may be taken and utilized as seems best to the superiors.

I entreat those wise and prudent Fathers to consider with great care the difference that exists between doctrines subject to proof and those subject lftter opinion. In other words, we establish matters of fact first, and then decide what interpretations of scripture will maintain the truth of those facts, second.

Who, then, would positively declare that this principle has been set aside, and the Bible has confined itself rigorously to the bare and restricted sense of its words, when speaking but casually of the earth, of water, of the sun, or of any other created thing?

Augustine when he speaks of the shape of heaven and what we may christjna concerning that. Letter to the Grand Du 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 grxnd authors for some different purpose. But as to the other kind, I should think, as said before, that first we are to make certain of the fact, which will reveal to us the true senses of the Bible, and these will most certainly be found to agree with the proved fact gqlileo though at first the words sounded otherwisefor two truths can never contradict each other.

Now if these men know they have such advantages over the enemy even when they stay within proper bounds and produce no weapons other than those proper to philosophy, why do they, in the thick of battle, betake themselves to a dreadful weapon which cannot be turned aside, and seek to vanquish the opponent by merely duchess it?

Galileo has noted also: