Scriptures relevant to geocentrism
Wed, 8 Jan 97 18:55:00 -0500

There has been a request to cite specific scriptures
relevant to geocentrism. In my course on the history
of modern science, I teach a unit on Galileo and
the Copernican controversy, in which we discuss several
texts that were part of the hermeneutical debate about
heliocentrism ca. 1600. (It is important to understand
that the Catholic church did not oppose Copernicus'
work when it was first introduced, nor for almost
70 years later. Many popular histories lead one to
think otherwise. Quite the opposite: one can make
a strong case that Copernicus would never have
published anything, had it not been for the urging
of several church officials, including the pope.)

The following list, being historical, may not represent
all the relevant texts in today's discussion. But it
probably has many of them. For a very thorough account
of how such verses were interpreted, see Jerome Langford's
splendid little book, Galileo, Science, and the Church.


Ted Davis
Professor of the History of Science
Messiah College
Grantham, PA 17027
717-766-2511, ext 6840


Item Subject: VERSES
The following verses were used in the 17th century to
attack Copernicus' view of the motion of the earth.
Only one of the verses (Job 9:6) was used to defend

Which shaketh the earth out of her place, and the
pillars thereof tremble.

--Job 9:6

Which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not; and
sealeth up the stars.

--Job 9:7

Then spake Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord
delivered up the Amorites before the children of
Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand
thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley
of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon
stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon
their enemies. Is not this written in the book of
Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of
heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.
And there was no day like that before it or after it,
that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man: for
the Lord fought for Israel.

--Joshua 10:12-14

Their line is gone out through all the earth, and
their words to the end of the world. In them hath he
set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom
coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong
man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of
the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and
there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.

The Lord reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the
Lord is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath
girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it
cannot be moved.

Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should
not be removed for ever.

--Psalms 19:4-6, 93:1,


The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and
hasteth to his place where he arose.

--Eccles. 1:5

Behold, I will bring again the shadow of the degrees,
which is gone down in the sun dial of Ahaz, ten
degrees backward. So the sun returned ten degrees, by
which degrees it was gone down.

--Is. 38:8

The sun and moon stood still in their habitation: at
the light of thine arrows they went, and at the
shining of thy glittering spear.

--Hab. 3:11