International Catholic University


Galileo: Science and Religion

Eppur si muove: The Legend of Galileo

William E. Carroll

If you were to go to Rome and climb the famous Spanish Steps and then head toward the palace to which they lead, you might notice a green marble pillar bearing the following inscription: "The next palace is the Trinità dei Monti, once belonging to the Medici; it was here that Galileo was kept prisoner of the Inquisition when he was on trial for seeing that the Earth moves and the Sun stands still." The first part of the inscription is true, but note the second part: the claim that Galileo was tried by the Inquisition "for seeing that the Earth moves and the Sun stands still." The motion of the Earth and the immobility of the Sun are difficult to see with one's eyes, and one might wonder how Galileo managed to notice phenomena that had escaped the sight of others for centuries. Galileo, himself, never claimed that his telescopic observations proved that the Earth moves. Even today, the Earth's motion seems impossible to observe except perhaps with the eye of the mind.

Although the marble pillar in Rome was erected a little more than a century ago as part of the anti-clerical program of the new Italian government, the impression it creates is pretty much that of most people who reflect on Galileo and his encounter with Catholic orthodoxy in the early 17th century. The controversy between Galileo and the Inquisition, however, is considerably more complicated than either the common impression or the inscription conveys. The legend of Galileo has come to have a life of its own, independent of and, in many ways, divergent from historical reality. Or, perhaps better put, the legend of Galileo possesses its own historical reality.

In the eight lectures which constitute this course on Galileo: Science and Religion, Dr. Hodgson and I invite you to look again at the famous encounter between Galileo and the Inquisition. In today's lecture I will focus on the legend of that encounter. In the following three lectures (two, three, and four) Dr. Hodgson will concentrate on Galileo's contributions to science, and in lectures five, six, and seven I will examine the controversy between Galileo and the Inquisition in some detail. In the eighth lecture I will discuss Galileo as theologian and return, in a way, to the legend of Galileo since an important feature of the legend is Galileo's theological acumen.

Throughout these lectures we will not provide a detailed account of Galileo's life nor a blow-by-blow description of his encounter with the Inquisition. There are many good books which provide such information, and appended to the text of this initial lecture you will find a brief bibliography. Several of the books we recommend have elaborate chronological guides as well as biographical glossaries. We hope that these lectures will enable you to see Galileo the scientist and the theologian in a new light. Our analysis builds throughout the lectures; we often rely on careful readings of specific texts, and thus we expect that you will read these lectures in their text format.

Now let us return to the legend of Galileo. In 1929 the King of Italy inaugurated the Institute and Museum of the History of Science in Florence. The ceremonies coincided with the first national exposition of the history of science, which had been sponsored by the Fascist regime to celebrate the tradition of Italian science. The new museum housed an impressive collection of artifacts belonging to or connected with Galileo. When Mussolini visited the exposition in 1930 he underlined the importance of Galileo as he stood in admiration before the text of Galileo's first astronomical treatise, The Starry Messenger. A contemporary chronicler of this encounter between Mussolini and the textual remains of Galileo observed that this was the first time that the manuscript had for a reader a man of the stature of the one who wrote the text!

The legend of Galileo was well established by the time Mussolini viewed The Starry Messenger. The Grand Dukes of Tuscany had begun to cultivate such a legend soon after Galileo's death in 1642. When Duke Pietro Leopoldo opened the Museum of Physics and Natural Sciences in 1774 he dedicated a special exhibition which commemorated the principal discoveries of Galilean physics. In the 1830's Galileo's scientific memorabilia were moved to a special "Tribuna di Galileo," established in another Florentine palace which was a meeting place for the congress of Italian scientists. Galileo, by now an "Italian" scientist (as distinct from a Florentine or a Tuscan scientist), served an important political role, helping to legitimate the aspirations of those Italian nationalists who longed for the establishment of a single Italian nation.

Today, a walk through the second floor of the Museum of the History of Science reveals the continuing importance of Galileo. Museum attendants stand ready to demonstrate a reproduction of Galileo's device for measuring motion down an inclined plane. The same text which attracted Mussolini's interest more than sixty years ago shares a display with first editions of the Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems and the Discourses and Demonstrations on Two New Sciences. There is a famous military compass and designs of fortifications Galileo produced for his Venetian patrons, before he became chief mathematician and philosopher at the Medici court in Florence. And, of course, there are the telescopes which Galileo used to discover new astronomical wonders.

The web site of the institute and museum in Florence provides internet access to these exhibits, and a great deal more on Galileo and his times. The internet address of this site is found in the bibliography to this lecture.

Among the telescopes in the exhibit there is a handsomely decorated, oval ivory frame, with a round glass at its center. It looks much like a monstrance used to hold the consecrated host in religious ceremonies such as benediction of the blessed sacrament. The central glass is surrounded by drafting tools and scientific instruments, all etched in ivory. At the top of the inner frame there is a depiction of four moons revolving about Jupiter. The cracked lens at the center of this scientific icon came from the telescope which Galileo used when he first observed these moons. The lens cracked when Galileo dropped it as he prepared to send it to Cosimo de' Medici, after whom he had named these moons the "Medicean stars."

The image of Galileo as patron saint of modern science is further reinforced by an odd reliquary. On a small marble pillar there is a glass sphere which contains the skeleton of the middle finger from Galileo's right hand. In 1737 when Galileo's body was being transported from a small chapel to a great monumental tomb in the Church of Santa Croce, this finger had fallen off the corpse; it has been preserved ever since.

There are few images of the modern world more powerful than that of the humbled Galileo, kneeling before the cardinals of the Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition, being forced to admit that the Earth did not move. The story is a familiar one: that Galileo represents science's fighting to free itself from the clutches of blind faith, biblical literalism, and superstition. The story is as fascinating to many in the late twentieth century as it was to Mussolini, or to nineteenth century scholars and politicians, or to the proponents of the cultural program of the Enlightenment in the eighteenth century. In fact, the famous Galileo codex, which contains most of the documents concerning the Inquisition's treatment of Galileo, was preserved as a result of Napoleon's interest in Galileo. Shortly after the formal annexation of Rome in 1810, Napoleon ordered all of the archives of the Vatican to be transported to Paris; he hoped to create in his capital city a center for the study of European culture. Unfortunately, in the process of shipping more than three thousand wooden chests of documents to Paris (and then several years later, after the defeat of Napoleon, shipping them back to Rome) some of the documents were lost. Three sets of documents in the Vatican archives received special treatment: those concerning the medieval crusading order of the Knights Templar; the 1809 Bull of excommunication of the emperor himself; and the material on Galileo. Napoleon ordered these documents sent to Paris by imperial courier. The "Galileo codex" was itself the result of a collation made by officers of the Inquisition late in the seventeenth century, perhaps to serve as an internal reference. Napoleon's interest in Galileo is attested to by his archivist in Paris who observed that the emperor, having recently been excommunicated, saw himself as a political Galileo who, in ushering in a new order in Europe, was also persecuted by the Church.

In order to pay for the return of the archives to Rome, after the defeat of Napoleon and the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy, the Vatican's representative in Paris had to sell documents to Paris papermakers. It is difficult to know what was lost, but at least two thousand six hundred volumes of documents from the Inquisition were shredded. Despite repeated representations to the new royal government, the French refused to return the Galileo codex, in which Napoleon had taken special interest. Only in the early 1840's did the widow of an exiled government minister discover the codex in her husband's effects in Vienna, and then return it to the ambassador from the Vatican. Napoleon's fascination with Galileo, the result, no doubt, of an already well-established legend of the Italian scientist's difficulties with the Church, served to preserve the very documents which have enabled modern scholars to debunk much of the legend.

The power of the legend was evident in the ways in which the press reported the solemn ceremony in the Vatican in October 1992, when Pope John Paul II appeared before the Pontifical Academy of Sciences to accept the findings of a commission of historical, scientific, and theological inquiry into the treatment of Galileo by the Inquisition in the seventeenth century. In 1981, the Pope established several study groups to reexamine all features of the encounter between Galileo and the Inquisition. In 1984, the Vatican published a collection of original documents related to that encounter, all but two of which had appeared in print before.

In comments before the Pontifical Academy in 1992, the Pope observed that the theologians of the Inquisition who condemned Galileo failed to distinguish properly between particular interpretations of the Bible and questions which in fact pertained to scientific investigation. According to the Pope, one of the unfortunate consequences of the condemnation of Galileo was that it has been used to reinforce the myth of an incompatibility between faith and science: "A tragic mutual incomprehension has been interpreted as the reflection of a fundamental opposition between science and faith. The clarifications furnished by recent historical studies," the Pope noted, "enable us to state that this sad misunderstanding now belongs to the past."

Misunderstandings associated with the story of Galileo were particularly evident, however, in the way the secular press described the October event in the Vatican. The headline on the front page of The New York Times (31 October 1992) was representative: "After 350 Years, Vatican Says Galileo Was Right: It [the Earth] Moves." Other newspapers, radio, and television repeated the same claim. One might forgive journalists the sensational distortion of headlines, but the attendant stories only reinforced the image the headlines evoked.

The story in The New York Times offers an excellent example of the persistence and power of the myth of the Galileo affair. In the guise of a straightforward news account, the author noted that the Pope's address would "rectify one of the Church's most infamous wrongs -- the persecution of the Italian astronomer and physicist for proving the Earth moves about the Sun." But Galileo did not prove that the Earth moves about the Sun. In fact, Galileo and the theologians of the Inquisition accepted the prevailing Aristotelian ideal of scientific demonstration which required that science be sure and certain knowledge in terms of necessary causes, not the conclusions of hypothetical or probabilistic reasoning which today we tend to accept as science.

Galileo had many disputes with his Aristotelian contemporaries, but his criticism of faulty reasoning and hasty conclusions on their part proceeded from a notion of science which he shared with Aristotle. For Galileo, as for Aristotle, science is not first of all an activity, not a program of experimental investigation. Rather, it is that knowledge which is the result of inquiry, expressed with the rigor of syllogistic demonstration. In order to understand Galileo's encounter with the Inquisition, we need to guard against the anachronistic application of contemporary notions of science to events more than three centuries ago. Galileo did not think that his astronomical observations provided sufficient evidence to prove that the Earth moves, although he did think that they called into question the truth of Ptolemaic astronomy. His discoveries of mountains on the Moon and spots on the surface of the Sun challenged the view that the heavens were incorruptible and perfect. That Venus exhibited phases like the Moon showed that planet to revolve about the Sun. In the account of his initial astronomical discoveries, published in The Starry Messenger in 1610, Galileo claimed that his most important discovery was the existence of the four moons of Jupiter, since it removed a major objection to Copernican astronomy. For Copernicus there were two centers of heavenly motion: the Earth, about which the Moon revolved, and the Sun, about which the Earth and the other planets revolved. Opponents of Copernicus thought such a claim absurd. How could the universe be the orderly, harmonious creation it is and have more than one center of motion? As a result of Galileo's observations no one could doubt that there were at least two centers of motion in the heavens: the Earth and Jupiter.

Galileo did hope eventually to argue from the fact of ocean tides, to the double motion of the Earth as their only possible cause. He knew that a truly demonstrative claim in physics had to take such a form, but he was never successful in demonstrating the motion of the Earth. He was working on this argument based on the tides early in the seventeenth century -- he circulated a manuscript privately in Rome in 1615; and the argument appeared in the fourth section of his Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, published in 1632. It was the publication of this work which was the immediate occasion for Galileo's appearance before the Inquisition in 1633.

The book, written in the form of a dialogue, compares geocentric and heliocentric astronomies, leaving little doubt as to which ought to be embraced. Convincing as the refutation of Aristotelian and Ptolemaic astronomy might be, the text did not contain a scientific demonstration for the motion of the Earth. The argument from effect to cause, from the ocean tides to the rotation and revolution of the Earth, appeared in the rhetorical form of demonstrative language.

Despite the rhetoric of demonstration, it seems likely that Galileo himself was aware that the argument lacked true probative force. Nevertheless, the book proved to be too convincing a presentation of the new astronomy for the Pope and the Inquisition to accept. An edict went forth from Rome to suspend the publication of the book and Galileo was ordered to appear before the Inquisition in Rome.

The famous trial of Galileo in 1633 needs to be understood in the light of the events seventeen years earlier. As I have already noted, Galileo and the officers of the Inquisition accepted the same Aristotelian notion of what constituted a scientific demonstration. As early as 1615, Cardinal Roberto Bellarmino, Jesuit theologian and the most prominent official of the Inquisition, told Galileo that if there were a true demonstration for the motion of the Earth then theologians would have to abandon the traditional reading of those passages in the Bible which appeared to be contrary. But, in the absence of such a demonstration, and in the midst of the controversies of the Protestant Reformation, the cardinal urged prudence: treat Copernican astronomy simply as a hypothetical model which accounts for the observed phenomena.

If Cardinal Bellarmino had thought that the immobility of the Earth were a matter of faith, he could not admit, as he did, the possibility of a demonstration to the contrary. The theologians of the Inquisition and Galileo adhered to the ancient Catholic principle that, since God is the author of all truth, the truths of science and the truths of revelation cannot contradict one another. In 1616, when the Inquisition ordered Galileo not to hold or to defend Copernican astronomy there was no demonstration for the motion of the Earth. It seemed obvious to the theologians in Rome that the Earth did not move and that the Bible confirmed this fact. The disciplinary decree of the Inquisition was unwise and imprudent: but it was the result of the subordination of the interpretation of certain passages of the Bible to a geocentric cosmology, a cosmology which would eventually be rejected. In lectures five, six, and seven I will examine in some detail these events of 1615 and 1616, for they represent, I think, the key to understanding the "Galileo Affair." Galileo's trial in 1633 concerns his violation of the injunction given to him in 1616.

In the presentation of the findings of the recent papal commission to Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Paul Poupard, head of one of the commission's four working groups, noted that the erroneous conclusions of the Inquisition's theological experts were the result of "a transitional situation in the field of astronomical knowledge and of an exegetical confusion regarding cosmology." The theologians "failed to grasp the profound, non-literal meaning of the Scriptures when they describe the physical structure of the created universe." Galileo's judges, "incapable of dissociating faith from an age-old cosmology, believed quite wrongly that the adoption of the Copernican revolution, in fact not yet definitively proven, was such as to undermine Catholic tradition, and that it was their duty to forbid its being taught."

Within the history of Catholic thought the conclusion of the theologians of the Inquisition was somewhat of an aberration. As early as the fourth century, St. Augustine had warned against using scientific theories to provide definitive interpretations of biblical texts.

Galileo often quoted Augustine when he argued that the Bible ought not to be used to determine the truth or falsity of scientific propositions which are not central to religious belief. Galileo liked to repeat the remark attributed to Cardinal Baronius: the Bible teaches us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.

According to the account in The New York Times, Galileo defended himself before the Inquisition in 1633 "by saying that scientific research and the Christian faith were not mutually exclusive and that the study of the natural world would promote understanding and interpretation of the scriptures. But his views were judged 'false and erroneous.'" Galileo, thus, is portrayed by The New York Times as being convicted by the Inquisition for affirming a compatibility between science and the Bible. But, on the contrary, the Inquisition accepted the view that science and faith were complementary. In 1633 Galileo was accused of disobeying the 1616 injunction not to defend Copernican astronomy. The Inquisition's injunction, however ill-advised, only makes sense if we recognize that the Inquisition saw no possibility of a conflict between science and religion, both properly understood. Condemned as "vehemently suspect of heresy," Galileo was required to recant, and he was placed under a kind of house arrest at his villa outside Florence until his death in 1642. From beginning to end, the official actions of the Inquisition were disciplinary, not dogmatic, although they were based on the erroneous notion that it was heretical to claim that the Earth moves.

The documents Napoleon helped to preserve reveal the decision in 1616 of the committee of theologians who advised the cardinals of the Inquisition. The theologians concluded that the proposition that the Earth moves and the Sun stands still is false, scientifically, and heretical, in that it contradicts certain passages of the Bible which claim the contrary. Although the Inquisition formally admonished Galileo not to hold or to defend Copernican astronomy as a result of the opinion of its expert theologians, the opinion remains just that, an opinion. Conclusions of theologians are not sufficient to constitute Church dogma (not in the seventeenth century, not even in the twentieth century). Official teachings of the Church depend upon the authority not of theologians but of popes and ecumenical councils. Even though Galileo was ordered to act as though it were heretical to hold that the Earth moves, it does not follow that the Church taught that the immobility of the Earth is a matter of faith. In fact, there has never been such a Church teaching.

In a sense, however, the Church does teach in her disciplinary acts, but teaching understood in this looser sense does not in itself constitute the authoritative proclamation of Church dogma. Perhaps officers of the Inquisition in the seventeenth century, or commentators in the twentieth century, fail to make this distinction or trivialize it, but it is a crucial distinction to keep in mind if we are to understand the relationship between the Catholic Church and science. In dealing with Galileo the Inquisition acted by the authority of the pope, but the authority was juridical not magisterial.

In 1616, in addition to the specific injunction given to Galileo by the Inquisition, the Congregation of the Index of Forbidden Books ordered that Copernicus's De revolutionibus be suspended from publication until it could be corrected and that works by two theologians (Paolo Foscarini and Diego de Zuñiga), who interpreted biblical passages on the basis of Copernican astronomy, were to be prohibited altogether. The order of the Index was an official, public decree, quite different from the private and personal admonition given to Galileo. Again, however unwise, the action of the Index remains disciplinary. The prohibition of the Index was gradually relaxed. The 1757 edition of the Catalogue of Forbidden Books did not include books that favored heliocentric astronomy. In 1820, Pope Pius VII sanctioned the granting of the imprimatur to works presenting Copernican astronomy as true and not merely as hypothetical. The failure to change Church discipline more expeditiously contributed to the myth that there was a fundamental conflict between faith and science.

Galileo's formal recantation in 1633, despite the claims of The New York Times, did not "save him from being burned at the stake." The Inquisition's own rules would prevent the use of torture on a man of Galileo's age, and there is no evidence that there was any consideration of his being burned at the stake were he to refuse to recant.

The author of the article in The New York Times was more right than he realized when he observed that "the dispute between the Church and Galileo has long stood as one of history's great emblems of conflict between reason and dogma, science and faith." But what the author took to be an accurate account of the encounter between Galileo and the Inquisition is part of a long-standing legend, far from the truth. Consider the following analysis he offered: "The Vatican's formal acknowledgment of an error . . . is a rarity in an institution built over centuries on the belief that the Church is the final arbiter in matters of faith." But the error which the Church admitted in the case of Galileo is an error of judgment; the Inquisition was wrong to discipline Galileo, but discipline is not dogma.

Although the legend of Galileo's encounter with the Inquisition has its roots even in the seventeenth century, I want to call your attention to developements in the nineteenth. Early in that century, Auguste Comte, one of the founding fathers of the modern social sciences, argued that humanity was laboriously struggling upward toward the reign of science, and the principal opponent in this struggle was a reactionary theological and metaphysical view of the world. For Comte, Galileo represents the modern spirit's freeing itself from the stultifying grasp of theology and metaphysics. Galileo's "odious persecution" will remain forever, according to Comte, an exemplar of the "first direct collision" between modern science and the old view of the world.

The nineteenth century was the great age of positivism, which saw modern science as the pinnacle of human thought. For the positivists, science was objective, inductive, and experimental -- and it was born in the great revolution of the seventeenth century when geniuses such as Galileo and Newton succeeded in overthrowing the heritage of Aristotle. Thus, the Inquisition's treatment of Galileo was but one of the attempts to impede the inevitable progress of the human mind. The legend of Galileo's persecution by the Inquisition had become part of the larger story -- also widely accepted -- of the Scientific Revolution. The more one saw that Revolution in terms of the victory of the modern scientific method, a method, so it was claimed, which Galileo pioneered, the more it was easy to accept what had become the common wisdom of the Inquisition's attempting to thwart scientific progress to protect the literal truth of the Bible.

By the second half of the nineteenth century the condemnation of Galileo had come to be seen in messianic terms. The figure of Galileo took on an almost divine role in the redemption of mankind from the dogmatism of the past. The great conflict between truth and falsehood had several heroes, and Galileo was among such a pantheon.

An important modern source of the notion that the Galileo affair is a central chapter in a long history of warfare between science and religion can be found in the debates in the late nineteenth century over the reception of Darwin's theory of evolution. Increasingly, this metaphor of warfare served as a principle in the modern world's understanding of its own history. The legend of Galileo was important evidence for the purported truth of this interpretation. At the same time the legend was held captive by this interpretation: so much so that, even today when we know how false the legend is, it remains difficult to reject it. This is particularly true in the United States where Andrew Dickson White's History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom (1896) enshrined what has come to be a historical orthodoxy difficult to dislodge. White used the example of the "persecution" of Galileo by the Inquisition as an ideological tool in his attack on the religious opponents of evolution. Since it was so obvious by the late nineteenth century that Galileo was right, it was useful to see him as the great champion of science against the forces of dogmatic religion. White's account may sound a bit extreme; nevertheless, we should be able to recognize an affinity between it and the persisting legend of Galileo:

[Galileo's] discoveries had clearly taken the Copernican theory out of the list of hypotheses, and had placed it before the world as a truth. Against him, then, the war was long and bitter. The supporters of what was called 'sound learning' declared his discoveries deceptions and his announcements blasphemy. Semi-scientific professors, endeavoring to curry favor with the church, attacked him with sham science; earnest preachers attacked him with perverted scripture; theologians, inquisitors, congregations of cardinals, and at least two popes dealt with him, and, as was supposed, silenced his impious doctrine forever. . . .

The whole struggle to crush Galileo and to save him would be amusing were it not fraught with evil. There were intrigues and counter-intrigues, plots and counter-plots, lying and spying; and in the thickest of this seething, squabbling, screaming mass of priests, bishops, archbishops, and cardinals, appear two popes, Paul V and Urban VIII. It is most suggestive to see in the crisis of the church, at the tomb of the prince of the apostles, on the eve of the greatest errors in church policy the world has known, in all the intrigues and deliberations of these consecrated leaders of the church, no more evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit than in the caucus of New York politicians. . . . [Vol. 1, pp. 130-1, 136-7]

The debate over papal infallibility, formally defined at the First Vatican Council in 1870, as well as liberal reaction to the Catholic Church's condemnation of "modernism," and the politics of the Italian Risorgimento only reinforced the skewed interpretation of the Galileo affair as a prime example of the hostility of the Catholic Church to reason and science. How, so it was alleged, could the Church proclaim its pontiff to be infallible when at least two popes affirmed as a matter of faith the false position that the Earth didn't move? The legend of Galileo has roots in the Enlightenment and in the culture of positivism, but it achieved renewed currency in the late nineteenth century and casts a shadow of ignorance to this day.

There is no evidence that Galileo, when he acceded to the Inquisition's demand in 1633 that he formally renounce the view that the Earth moves, muttered under his breath, eppur si muove, but still it moves. What continues to move, despite evidence to the contrary, is the legend that Galileo represents science's fighting to free itself from the clutches of blind faith, biblical literalism, and superstition. Galileo and the Inquisition shared common first principles about the nature of scientific truth and the complementarity between science and religion. In the absence of scientific knowledge that the Earth moves, Galileo was required to deny that it did. However unwise it was to insist on such a requirement, the Inquisition did not ask Galileo to choose between science and faith.

Bibliography

The most complete recent history of the encounter between Galileo and the Inquisition is the work of Fantoli. For a good account both of Galileo the scientist and his encounter with the Inquisition, see Sharratt.

Professor Albert Van Helden of Rice University has established a world-wide web site on Galileo: http://es.rice.edu/ES/humsoc/Galileo/index.html; students should examine its offerings. In addition, students should consult the web site of the Institute and Museum of the History of Science in Florence: http://galileo.imss.firenze.it/museo/b/egalig.html

From time to time throughout the lectures we will be using references from the works listed below.

Brief Essays:

Blackwell, Richard J. "Galileo Galilei," in The History of Science and Religion in the Western Tradition: An Encyclopedia, edited by Gary B. Fergren, pp. 85-89 (New York: Garland, 2000).

Fantoli, Annibale. "Galileo and the Church," in Encyclopedia of the Scientific Revolution: From Copernicus to Newton, edited by Wilbur Applebaum, pp. 252-255 (New York: Garland, 2000).

Settle, Thomas B. "Galilei, Galileo," in Encyclopedia of the Scientific Revolution: From Copernicus to Newton, edited by Wilbur Applebaum, pp. 245-252 (New York: Garland, 2000). General Works:

Blackwell, Richard J. Galileo, Bellarmine, and the Bible. University of Notre Dame Press, 1991.

Blackwell, Richard J. Science, Religion, and Authority: Lessons from the Galileo Affair. Marquette University Press, 1998.

Drake, Stillman (ed.) Discoveries and Opinions of Galileo. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1957.

Fantoli, Annibale. Galileo: for Copernicanism and for the Church. (translated by George Coyne), second edition. Vatican Observatory Publications, 1996.

Finocchiaro, Maurice A. (ed.) The Galileo Affair: A Documentary History. The University of California Press, 1989.

Langford, Jerome. Galileo, Science, and the Church. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1966

Sharratt, Michael. Galileo: Decisive Innovator. Oxford: Blackwell, 1994.

More specialized studies:

Ariew, Roger. "Galileo's Lunar Observations in the Context of Medieval Lunar Theory," Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science 15, no. 3 (1984), pp. 212-227.

Brooke, John Hedley. Science and Religion: Some Historical Perspectives. Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Carroll, William E. "Galileo and the Interpretation of the Bible," Science & Education 8:2 (1999), pp. 151-187.

Feldhay, Rivka. Galileo and the Church: Political Inquisition or Critical Dialogue? Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Pederson, Olaf. Galileo and the Council of Trent. Vatican Observatory Publications, 1983. (Second edition, 1991)

Redondi, Pietro. Galileo Heretic. (trans. by R. Rosenthal). Princeton University Press, 1987 [Galileo eretico, Einaudi, 1983].

Van Helden, Albert (trans./ed.). Sidereus Nuncius or The Sidereal Messenger. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1989.

Wallace, William A. Galileo and His Sources. Princeton University Press, 1984.

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