Chapter

Secular Indictments

Maurice A. Finocchiaro

in Retrying Galileo, 1633-1992

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2005 | ISBN: 9780520242616
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520941373 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520242616.003.0016
Secular Indictments

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This chapter explores how Galileo's trial was viewed by secular, socially conscious, left-leaning literary intellectuals in the middle part of the twentieth century. The first thing that Bertolt Brecht's play needs clarification is the issue of truth or accuracy from a historical or factual point of view versus plausibility or effectiveness from a dramatic, theatrical, or fictional point of view. One question about the issue of Galileo's crime involves historical truth versus dramatic plausibility. There is in modern culture a separation between science and religion in Arthur Koestler's account of Galileo's trial. It is perhaps no exaggeration to say that Koestler's criticism is the most serious indictment of Galileo since the original trial. Koestler's account of the Galileo affair displays considerable ingenuity, apparent plausibility, literary readability, interdisciplinary understanding, and a deep and wide-ranging cultural sensitivity.

Keywords: Galileo; Bertolt Brecht; Arthur Koestler; trial; play

Chapter.  11226 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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