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Galileo, Science, and the Church [Hardcover]

By Jerome J. Langford (Author)
Our Price $ 27.63  
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Item Number 103397  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   225
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.23" Width: 6.19" Height: 0.84"
Weight:   1.21 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Oct 31, 1998
Publisher   St. Augustine's Press
ISBN  1890318256  
EAN  9781890318253  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Widely recognized as a classic account of the circumstances, issues, and consequences of Galileo's tragic confrontation with the theologians, Galileo, Science and the Church is now available in a sewn, clothbound edition for the first time in more than thirty years. Langford's book is cited in much of the Galileo literature of the past three decades, and it has been in print continuously since 1971 in paperback. It is used in courses at numerous colleges and universities. The present text is the third edition, updated and expanded with a survey of the most important advances in recent Galileo studies. In it, Langford assesses the validity of his own account while making the modifications dictated by recent scholarship. Once again, the author makes clear that this timeless drama has much to teach us about the enduring conflict between authority and the freedom of thought and expression.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
The popular story vs the actual  Nov 18, 2007
Langford is even-handed and doesn't withhold criticism of academia and the Church for its handling of Galileo and his books.

What I was taught by public school and the popular press:
The Catholic Church persecuted Galileo because he asserted the Earth revolved around the Sun, and was threatened with torture and death. Copernicus delayed publishing his theory for fear of persecution from the Church, finally publishing it on his deathbed.

What Langford convincingly shows from research into primary documents:
The Catholic Church was more receptive to the heliocentric theory than the universities. Pope Clement requested a hearing of Copernicus' theory in the Vatican gardens, and was "quite favorably impressed" with the theory. Copernicus was afraid of persecution from his peers, the universities, not the Catholic Church. His fears were well founded, as Galileo discovered years later. Galileo received the full weight of academic condemnation and ridicule. When professors realized peer pressure wouldn't silence Galileo, they turned to the Church for help. Fortunately, a good portion of the Church was behind Galileo. The head of one Jesuit college wrote to Galileo to say that his astronomers and mathematicians had confirmed his theory, but wanted more proof. Galileo's efforts were further encouraged by Pope Urban. His first trial resulted in being admonished not to teach it as fact, but was welcome to teach it as theory. Unfortunately, by the time of his second trial he had managed to alienate his support, mainly by insisting his theory be taught as fact despite a lack of evidence. One of his proofs was tides--he believed they were cause by the Earth sloshing the oceans. Galileo insisted on circular orbits, and refused to consider Kepler's calculations on elliptical orbits, which would have corrected errors he and others found in his model. He was tried a second time for teaching the theory as fact, not for teaching the theory. He was never tortured or shown a dungeon. His house arrest consisted of a five-room apartment with a servant at his disposal, and was free to roam Rome while awaiting trial. After the trial, he was released. True he was threatened with imprisonment, but at his age, Langford asserts, both he and the court officials knew it would not be carried out; the sentence would have been mitigated.

In short, Galileo and Copernicus were treated by the academia in much the same way they treat new ideas today. For an explanation of why the geo-centric theory isn't Christian in principle or origin, read Sampson's Six Modern Myths.
Short Review  Apr 1, 2005
I really enjoyed reading this book. This book is mainly about Galileo's theory of universe and the trial of Galileo which was caused by his conflict with the Catholic Church. This book also talks about Galileo's life briefly. I learned about theories that influenced Galileo's ideas and his opinion toward Copernicus's theory which stated that the all of the planets, including the earth, revolved around the sun.
Great, insightful read  Sep 24, 2004
This is a brief, well balanced account of the conflict between Galileo and the Church. It opens with an insightful look at the world view and astronomy of the late 1500's, including a detailed look at the role of Scripture in these views. This is followed with a thorough description of Galileo's life and how his conflict with the church unfolded. The final chapter is a fascinating overview of the relationships between faith, science and philosophy since Galileo's time. It's not overly difficult reading, though it deals with science, theology and philosophy. The book is a fair account, looking at the strengths and weaknesses of Galileo and some Church officials in how they approached the issues. It also critiques some long held cultural assumptions about the causes, events and meaning of this case (ex: Galileo was never tortured; some lower Church officials who disliked Galileo gave the Pope misleading reports, etc). Definitely worth reading!!

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