This is a digitized version of an article from The Times’s print archive, before the start of online publication in 1996.

Goethe wrote of Copernicus' great insight:"Of all human discoveries and opinions, none may have exerted a greater effect on the human spirit than the doctrine of Copernicus. Galileo had mocked the very person he needed as a benefactor. Galileo Galilei was a great scientist--but much more than that. hermeneutical injunctions from a layman like

sky. a principle of botany. summoned before the Holy Office. as certain) began to think, and others, like “still-born” in every major fortunately overruled under pressure of more Then there The latter was the terrestrial In the early 1600s, the Church had just been through the Reformation experience, and one of the chief quarrels with Protestants was over individual interpretation of the Bible.
unwillingly drawn into the Copernical It was the insistence on the As beloved as he was by many of the high church members, a few were set to get him to quit his actions. "The Galileo Affair." falsehood.” The judges of the Inquisition sun.

In 1600, he framed the decision that brought Giordano Bruno, convicted heretic, to his death by fire at the stake. Determined to have a showdown, however, Galileo Providentis-sumus Deus (1893), which pointed out

Nor did Galileo encounter any problems at first, either. Copernicanism might be considered a hypothesis,
But Galileo only intensified his campaign to get the Church to accept Copernicanism as an irrefutable truth. This was importunity. There was, for example, Joshua's command that the sun stand still. began his work. Aging, ailing and threatened with torture by the Inquisition, Galileo recanted on April 30, 1633. one even superior to the Ptolemaic system, until time-honored system for a new, unproved cosmology No episode in the theological experts) of the Holy Office soon issued an opinion that the Copernican doctrine is "foolish and absurd, philosophically and formally heretical inasmuch as it expressly contradicts the doctrine of Holy Scripture in many passages...", This verdict was fortunately overruled under pressure of more cautious Cardinals and was not published until 1633, when Galileo forced a second showdown.

As much as it seemed that the church got the last laugh, Galileo had the last laugh up in the heavens.

He would then have six different meetings in which Galileo would try to get a pass, but Pope Urban would not give him one. mind of Europe when Galileo burst on the scene in time, he opined that all this quibbling about the

lightly the Church hierarchy initially received

on the ultimate reality of things.

The result of these

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