Galileo's View of the New World Essay

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Galileo’s letter to the Grand Duchess Christina caused much controversy when it was written in 1613. It caused such controversy because it was an indirect attack on the Catholic Church with a viewpoint that was not of the ‘status quo’. This essay will thoroughly analyse this document. It will analyse the context behind what was happening in 17th century with regards to science and religion. Secondly it will critically explain and analyse the grounds behind why this document actually holds significance. This will make the argument that Galileo wanted to make the distinction between science and religion.

In order to understand and analyse this source, the letter needs to be in its 17th century context. During this period, the Catholic
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He argues that Galileo liked to create controversy . This could set a precedent that Galileo wanted to cause uproar by going so far to the extreme that the nobles and the Church would take a serious look into his findings, when he may have exaggerated certain points.

One of Galileo’s main issues was the purpose of scripture with regards to interpretation. Galileo makes the argument that Scripture cannot be wrong but it is up to the interpretation of it. For example, he stated, “Though the scripture cannot err, nevertheless some of its interpreters and expositors can sometimes err in various ways” . Furthermore he states that if we were to take the literal meaning of what the scripture states – we would be personifying God by giving him human characteristics of a body and emotions. In essence the literal interpretation would give God the right to make mistakes, which of course would not be accepted by anyone in the church.

Galileo did have a basis for his argument on the relation of the interpretation of scripture with regards to science. Copernicus, in his letter to Pope Paul III, stated that there are many differing interpretations within the scientists focused on astronomy. One of the main points he makes is that astronomers cannot agree on how to accurately measure the tropical year . Copernicus
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