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a. On February 16th, 1564 a man was born who would help challenge the most influential group in the history of mankind. Galileo Galilei grew up a staunch Catholic. His first lectures were on the geography of Hell. Both his daughter’s were nuns. Everything in his life pointed to a man who was devoted to Church in a way that so many others were as well. Eventually, however, an incredible discovery brought him into a fierce battle. Galileo was persecuted by the Christian Church, because of his attempt to prove Copernicus’s planetary theory, the arrogant way in which he presented this proof, and the internal problems of the Church.
II. Copernicus’s Theory
a. The theory undermined the church
i. “[Copernicus’s book’s} essential argument was that at the middle of all things lies the sun and that the earth, like the other planets, revolves around it”
b. Other Scientists followed suit
i. “Other European scientists built on Copernicus’s central insight, and some even argued that other inhabited worlds and other kinds of humans existed”
III. Galileo’s Proof
a. Galileo first showed interest in Copernicus’s theory in 1597
i. “Johannes Kepler sent him a copy of his Mysterium Cosmographicum in 1597, the first important successor to Nicolaus Copernicus’s De Revolutionibus of 1543, Galileo wrote back that he had himself arrived at the Copernican opinion many years ago and from that assumption had discovered the cause of many natural effects. (The tides)”
b. Galileo’s telescope allowed him to see into the heavens
i. “[Galileo] saw that Jupiter is accompanied by four small stars that move around it.”
ii. “Galileo went on to discover…the phases of Venus, showing that it must move about the Sun and shine by reflected sunlight.”
IV. Galileo in Rome
a. Galileo travelled to Rome in an effort to confront rejection of his theory
i. While in Rome Galileo brilliantly argued for Copernicus’s theory, however he inadvertently insulted the church in the process.
V. Galileo’s Arrogance
a. Galileo showed his opinion of his contradictors in a letter to the Grand Duchess Christina of Tuscany
i. “I should pay no more attention to [those who contradict me now] than to those who previously contradicted me-at whom I always laugh”
b. In his first deposition, Galileo says the fact that he did not state all the intentions of his book when asking for permission from the Church
i. “When I asked him for permission to print the book, I did not say anything to the Father Master of the Sacred Palace about the above-mentioned injunction because I did not judge it necessary to tell it to him”
VI. Christian Expansion
a. The Christian Church could not expand any further in Europe, so they turned their attention to the new world
i. The Christian Church used the expansion of countries such as Spain to spread Christianity into the New World.
b. The forced spread of Christianity made the Christian Church very powerful.
i. With the Christian Church spreading into the New World, they were able to gather new followers, especially in South America.
VII. The Protestant Reformation
a. During the Protestant Reformation, Protestants, led by Martin Luther, succeeded from the Christian Church
i. “Luther questioned the granting of forgiveness through the sale of indulgences, which seemed to turn the matter into a commercial transaction rather than a genuine repentant of sin and change of heart. As Luther saw it, the Catholic Church had commercialized repentance.”
b. The Protestant Reformation terrified the Christian Church and caused it to lash out with consequences.
i. “The beginning and later growth of the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century was seen as a new challenge to religious authority that went beyond the Roman Catholic Church. Many viewed it as a threat to the whole social structure of society, from the monarch on down.”
VIII. The Scientific Revolution
a. The Scientific Revolution Challenged the teachings of the Church
i. “The Scientific Revolution was revolutionary because it fundamentally challenged this understanding of the Universe”
b. The Church responded in a harsh way to all people who challenged their teachings
i. “The Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno, proclaiming an infinite universe and many worlds, was burned at the stake in 1600…”
a. No group can wield as much power as the Christian Church and not eventually abuse it.
i. The Church began as something that people could believe in and hold themselves to, but it soon grew to large to challenge.
ii. The only way to take down the Church was to swiftly undermine it, as we saw in the scientific revolution and the Protestant Reformation.
b. When an organization, such as
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Copernican Revolution, Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, De revolutionibus orbium coelestium, Johannes Kepler, Mysterium Cosmographicum, Life of Galileo, Copernicus, Galileo, Copernican heliocentrism, On the Shoulders of Giants
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