Gallileo vs. The Holly Office

Galileo before the Holy Office (detail from a painting by Joseph-Nicolas Robert-Fleury)
Galileo before the Holy Office (detail from a painting by Joseph-Nicolas Robert-Fleury)

Scholars tend to forget the reason why Galileo was condemned by the Catholic Church. His book on heliocentricism wasn’t a purely scientific one but touched matters of religion too. This is precisely why his “Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo” entered the list of the banned books of the Catholic Church; the harrowing –for scientists up until the 1960s (!) – “Index Librorum Prohibitorum”.Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems (1632)


Only books that linked scientific discoveries with the Bible were banned.

And this is exactly why other books that could be indicated as even more subversive (like “On the origin of species” or Newton’s “Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica”) were never banned…

Yes. Believe it or not, Darwin himself -although his ideas were disliked by individual priests- was never accused by the Roman Inquisition!

Galileo Galilei  (1564-1642)
Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

By George Kokkos

Born in Athens, I've studied Ancient History and Archaeology in Britain and in Greece. I've worked in excavations, as a translator, as a private tutor, and since 2010 I'm working with schools and universities from the US and Europe as an Educational Tourism Expert.
An aspiring science popularizer and indefatigable lecturer in academic or tourism settings, my mastery is to make accessible complex and profound subject matter that can then be appreciated by an extremely broad audience.

I'm passionate about history, philosophy, and education for all. My main focus is the history of the ancient Athenian Democracy and her impact on modern-day republics. I've lectured extensively in schools, universities, and the European Commission Learning Center.

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