Behind the Scenes at Galileo's Trial: Including the First English Translation of Melchior Inchofer's Tractatus Syllepticus

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Galileo's trial for heresy in 1633 before the Roman Inquisition is one of the most frequently mentioned topics in the history of science. Galileo's encounter with the Catholic Church was not only a major turning point in the history of western culture; it is the paradigm case of the clash between the institutional authority of religion and the authority of scientific reason.Richard J. Blackwell focuses on the church's official theological position against Galileo. At the center of Blackwell's account stands Melchior Inchofer, S. J., the Jesuit most directly involved in Galileo's actual trial. Inchofer's judgment upon the orthodoxy of Galileo's Dialogue had been requested earlier by the Holy Office and was then incorporated into the proceedings of the trial. His harsh assessment of Galileo's book formed the basis for Inchofer's treatise Tractatus Syllepticus , the first English translation of which is included in this volume. His text provides a new and fascinating way of looking at the defense of the guilty verdict.