Kepler's Witch/Galileo in Rome

Johannes Kepler and Galileo Galilei were contemporaries, standing midway in time between Copernicus and Isaac Newton. They were the primary figures who made the radical sun-centered cosmology intellectually respectable as a true physical description of the cosmos. Both lived at a time of deep religious turmoil and sectarian strife, and both suffered at the hands of their respective churches.

Kepler, a staunch Lutheran, was excommunicated in part because he believed that Calvinists should be treated as Christian brothers. Galileo, who made a pilgrimage to a Catholic shrine in Loreto after he fell ill in 1618, was tried before the Inquisition on “a vehement suspicion of heresy” because of his defense of the Copernican heliocentric cosmology.

 

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