Foreknowledge, Skepticism, and Celestial Order in Rome

Robert S. Westman

in The Copernican Question

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780520254817
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520948167 | DOI:
Foreknowledge, Skepticism, and Celestial Order in Rome

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By the mid-sixteenth century, the Roman Catholic Church was deeply preoccupied with affirming its traditional authority against the culturally and politically fragmenting effects of the “German Schism.” Nicolaus Copernicus's theory as he expounded in De Revolutionibus was not discussed at the Council of Trent. The contrast with Copernicus's reception in Wittenberg—at precisely the same moment—could not have been more striking. The Florentine Dominican Giovanni Maria Tolosani's appraisal was the first polemic against Copernicus. Unlike Andreas Osiander, who tried to protect Copernicus's work by stressing the separation between the mathematical and the physical parts of astronomy, Tolosani brought out the dependency of astronomy on the higher disciplines of physics and theology for the truth of its conclusions. This chapter deals with foreknowledge, skepticism, and celestial order in Rome. It also discusses the Holy Index and the science of the stars, along with astrology, astronomy, and the certitude of mathematics in post-Tridentine heavenly science. Finally, it looks at Christopher Clavius of Bamberg and his views on the order of the planets.

Keywords: Nicolaus Copernicus; De Revolutionibus; Holy Index; Council of Trent; astrology; astronomy; mathematics; celestial order; Christopher Clavius; planets

Chapter.  18411 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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