The Sun in the Church: Cathedrals as Solar Observatories

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9780674005365: The Sun in the Church: Cathedrals as Solar Observatories

Between 1650 and 1750, four Catholic churches were the best solar observatories in the world. Built to fix an unquestionable date for Easter, they also housed instruments that threw light on the disputed geometry of the solar system, and so, within sight of the altar, subverted Church doctrine about the order of the universe.

A tale of politically canny astronomers and cardinals with a taste for mathematics, The Sun in the Church tells how these observatories came to be, how they worked, and what they accomplished. It describes Galileo's political overreaching, his subsequent trial for heresy, and his slow and steady rehabilitation in the eyes of the Catholic Church. And it offers an enlightening perspective on astronomy, Church history, and religious architecture, as well as an analysis of measurements testing the limits of attainable accuracy, undertaken with rudimentary means and extraordinary zeal. Above all, the book illuminates the niches protected and financed by the Catholic Church in which science and mathematics thrived.

Superbly written, The Sun in the Church provides a magnificent corrective to long-standing oversimplified accounts of the hostility between science and religion.

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Review:

The Sun in the Church by J.L. Heilbron is a provocative work of scholarship that challenges long-held views of the relationship between science and Christianity. Heilbron's main point is simple enough: "The Roman Catholic Church gave more financial and social support to the study of astronomy for over six centuries, from the recovery of ancient learning during the late Middle Ages into the Enlightenment, than any other, and, probably, all other, institutions." Despite the persecution of Galileo, Heilbron notes, the Church actively supported mathematical and astronomical research--often designing cathedrals that could also function as observatories--in order to set the precise date of Easter (a crucial endeavor for maintaining the unity of the Church). Heilbron's fluid, engaging style brings his detailed reconstructions of 16th- and 17th-century Church politics to life. And his argument that scientific knowledge was deemed both morally neutral and politically useful during the Reformation and beyond yields an unusually interesting, complex, and human understanding of Catholicism in the early Modern period. --Michael Joseph Gross

From the Back Cover:

A fascinating history of astronomy that shows, as no other work has done so well, what happened to Italian science after Galileo's trial. An astonishing display of erudition and linguistic control, with a wealth of fine details, this is a major history that carves out a unique territory. (Owen Gingerich, Harvard University)

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J.L. Heilbron
Editore: HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States (2001)
ISBN 10: 0674005368 ISBN 13: 9780674005365
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Descrizione libro HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States, 2001. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. New edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. Between 1650 and 1750, four Catholic churches were the best solar observatories in the world. Built to fix an unquestionable date for Easter, they also housed instruments that threw light on the disputed geometry of the solar system, and so within sight of the alter, subverted church doctrine about the order of the universe. A tale of politically canny astronomers and cardinals with a taste for mathematics, this text tells how these observatories came to be, how they worked, and what they accomplished. It describes Galileo s political overreaching, his subsequent trial for heresy, and his slow and steady rehabilitation in the eyes of the Catholic Church. And it offers an enlightening perspective on astronomy, church history, and religious architecture, as well as an analysis of measurements testing the limits of attainable accuracy, undertaken with rudimentary means and extraordinary zeal. Above all, the book illuminates the niches protected and financed by the Catholic Church in which science and mathematics thrived. Codice libro della libreria AAZ9780674005365

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J.L. Heilbron
Editore: HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States (2001)
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Descrizione libro HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States, 2001. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. New edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. Between 1650 and 1750, four Catholic churches were the best solar observatories in the world. Built to fix an unquestionable date for Easter, they also housed instruments that threw light on the disputed geometry of the solar system, and so within sight of the alter, subverted church doctrine about the order of the universe. A tale of politically canny astronomers and cardinals with a taste for mathematics, this text tells how these observatories came to be, how they worked, and what they accomplished. It describes Galileo s political overreaching, his subsequent trial for heresy, and his slow and steady rehabilitation in the eyes of the Catholic Church. And it offers an enlightening perspective on astronomy, church history, and religious architecture, as well as an analysis of measurements testing the limits of attainable accuracy, undertaken with rudimentary means and extraordinary zeal. Above all, the book illuminates the niches protected and financed by the Catholic Church in which science and mathematics thrived. Codice libro della libreria AAZ9780674005365

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Descrizione libro Harvard University Press. Paperback. Condizione libro: new. BRAND NEW, The Sun in the Church: Cathedrals as Solar Observatories (New edition), J.L. Heilbron, Between 1650 and 1750, four Catholic churches were the best solar observatories in the world. Built to fix an unquestionable date for Easter, they also housed instruments that threw light on the disputed geometry of the solar system, and so within sight of the alter, subverted church doctrine about the order of the universe. A tale of politically canny astronomers and cardinals with a taste for mathematics, this text tells how these observatories came to be, how they worked, and what they accomplished. It describes Galileo's political overreaching, his subsequent trial for heresy, and his slow and steady rehabilitation in the eyes of the Catholic Church. And it offers an enlightening perspective on astronomy, church history, and religious architecture, as well as an analysis of measurements testing the limits of attainable accuracy, undertaken with rudimentary means and extraordinary zeal. Above all, the book illuminates the niches protected and financed by the Catholic Church in which science and mathematics thrived. Codice libro della libreria B9780674005365

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Descrizione libro Condizione libro: New. Depending on your location, this item may ship from the US or UK. Codice libro della libreria 97806740053650000000

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