The Trial of Galileo
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Galileo Team #6
Show that, in terms of procedural details, Galileo cannot be held accountable. Discuss how, in approaching an extremely delicate topic, Galileo heeded all the guidance and instructions given to him by Church officials. (If any flaws remain, the Church --not Galileo himself-- is to blame!)

  • Present the 1616 certificate of Cardinal Bellarmine, discuss its context, and show (through quotes and analysis of the Dialogue) how Galileo has honored it and neither explicitly "defends" nor "holds" Copernicanism.
  • Show (with a healthy use of quotes) that Galileo honored the 1616 Congregation of the Index by treating Copernicanism only hypothetically in the Dialogue.
  • Profile the procedure for the Inquisition's review of books and their examination and approval of Galileo's manuscripts. Show, in particular (again, through healthy use of quotes), how Galileo revised his work as instructed (by Riccardi) before receiving a final imprimatur.
For further depth:
  • Coordinate with Team #4 on Galileo's overall support of the Church.
  • Coordinate with Team #5 on the context that makes procedural details so essential.
  • Coordinate with the Instructor and Team #5 on "the false injunction."


    For orientation, see:
  • Blackwell's Behind the Scenes at Galileo’s Trial, Chap. 1
  • Fantoli's chapter 5 in Ernan McMullin's The Church and Galileo.

  • [essential] 1616 documents in Finnochiaro's The Galileo Affair (esp. p. 153, also here)
  • Feldhay's Galileo and the Church
  • William Shea's Chap. 6 in Machamer's Cambridge Companion to Galileo
  • ? Moss's Novelties in the Heavens: Rhetoric and Science in the Copernican Controversy
  • ? Moss and Wallace's Rhetoric and Dialectic in the Time of Galileo
  • Finnochiaro's commentary on Galileo's rhetoric in Galileo on the World Systems, Appendix 3.

    On the approval process, see:
  • [for orientation] Sobel's Galileo's Daughter
  • Fantoli's Galileo: For Copernicanism and the Church, Chap. 5.6
  • 1631-33 "miscellaneous" documents in Finnochiaro's The Galileo Affair