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By James M. Lattis

Between Copernicus and Galileo is the tale of Christoph Clavius, the Jesuit astronomer and instructor whose paintings helped set the criteria wherein Galileo's recognized claims seemed so radical, and whose teachings guided the highbrow and medical schedule of the Church within the crucial years of the medical Revolution.

Though rather unknown this day, Clavius used to be greatly influential all through Europe within the overdue 16th and early 17th centuries via his astronomy books—the common texts utilized in many schools and universities, and the instruments with which Descartes, Gassendi, and Mersenne, between many others, discovered their astronomy. James Lattis makes use of Clavius's personal courses in addition to archival fabrics to track the imperative function Clavius performed in integrating conventional Ptolemaic astronomy and Aristotelian traditional philosophy into an orthodox cosmology. even though Clavius strongly resisted the hot cosmologies of Copernicus and Tycho, Galileo's invention of the telescope eventually eroded the Ptolemaic global view.
By tracing Clavius's perspectives from medieval cosmology the 17th century, Lattis illuminates the conceptual shift from Ptolemaic to Copernican astronomy and the social, highbrow, and theological influence of the medical Revolution.

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Extra info for Between Copernicus and Galileo. Christoph Clavius and the collapse of Ptolemaic cosmology

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2 Clavius's writings eventually became source material for the development and application of the educational apostolate both because of their early date relative to Jesuit traditions and also because of the success of mathematical science during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. ) are consistent with the generally pragmatic orientation among Jesuits. " As Steven Harris puts it, "Apostolic spirituality engendered within the Society an intensely goaloriented, purposeful attitude ... ' ,3 Esteem for utility was not peculiar to Jesuit education.

93 After the publication of Galileo's Sidereus nuncius (March 1610), Cardinal Bellarmine wrote to Clavius asking that the Collegio Romano astronomers send their opinion of Galileo' s observations and confirm them if they could. Apparently Clavius took an active role alongside his younger colleagues in the difficult process of teaching themselves, first, how to build and use an astronomical telescope and then how to interpret the observations. This is clear from correspondence between Clavius and Galileo in which the former complains that he and his fellow astronomers have been unable to see the Jovian satellites and Galileo responds with a discussion of the subtleties of telescope construction and the necessity of a stable mounting.

Kepler, in particular, drew attention to Clavius's account, thus ensuring that this eclipse would generate controversy for many years, lasting even to our own day. 66 Three years later, in 1570, he published the first edition of the Commentary on the "Sphere" of Sacrobosco, and then, in 1574, his edition of Euclid's Elements, both of which he would revise and republish for the rest of his life. 67 In the years just before Clavius's publication of the Elements, at least two other major editions of Euclid appeared, namely, Henry Billingsley's English translation of the Elements in 1570 (with John Dee's well-known preface) and the Latin edition of 1572 by Commandino, whom Clavius, as noted above, counted among his personal acquaintances.

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