RE: royalty

From: Glenn Morton (
Date: Sat Sep 20 2003 - 21:17:06 EDT

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    It is often held that Giordano Bruno was burned for heliocentricity. His
    file is missing. But it was him I was referring to.

    >-----Original Message-----
    >From: Robert Schneider []
    >Sent: Saturday, September 20, 2003 7:56 PM
    >To: George Murphy; Glenn Morton
    >Subject: Re: royalty
    >As a former medievalist who studied medieval science many years ago, and
    >respects and appreciates its attention to the world that God
    >created, I must
    >challenge strongly any belief that medieval clerics burned at the stake
    >anyone who believed that the earth went around the sun. As far as I know,
    >the idea itself was not entertained in any serious way before the early
    >16th century.
    >Our culture still suffers from the negative images of medieval
    >thinkers that
    >their Renaissance successors pinned on them. They were far more bright and
    >capable than we have been taught to recognize. Medieval thinkers were
    >firmly anchored in the Aristotelian-Ptolemaic model of the cosmos, and had
    >the writings of Greek and Muslim astronomers sources for their
    >own thinking. They were not slavish imitators, however. Read Roger Bacon
    >on the Ptolemaic model of the heavens and a curious thing emerges:
    >he cannot
    >make up his mind whether Ptolemy's model was merely a mathematical model or
    >a description of the cosmos as it was.
    >Medieval thinkers gathered and mined all of the data that they inherited
    >from their predecessors. They wrote extensive commentaries on Aristotle's
    >"On the Heavens." They wrote detailed works on plant and animal
    >life and on
    >minerals, e.g., the writings of Albert the Great. In many respects they
    >were precursors of modern science, not a group of people who resisted
    >learning about the world God created. Fourteenth century mathematicians at
    >Oxford, e.g., did some interesting work on motion that serves as a step in
    >the process that led eventually to the work of Galileo.
    >In fact, relatively speaking, there were relatively few persons burned at
    >the stake by the Inquisition during the Middle Ages, and most of them were
    >mystics or Cathars charged with theological heresies. The wave of burnings
    >that stick in people's minds are the product of the Renaissance/Reformation
    >period and arose with the wars of religion and the witch craze that swept
    >Europe. Those who know Kepler's story are familiar with the fact that his
    >mother was accused of witchcraft and he spent many anxious hours and no
    >little money in her defense. Perhaps Ted and others know more about this
    >than I do, but the only person I can think of who was burned at the stake
    >for holding a scientific concept was Giordano Bruno, in 1600.
    >Bob Schneider
    >----- Original Message -----
    >From: "George Murphy" <>
    >To: "Glenn Morton" <>
    >Cc: <>
    >Sent: Saturday, September 20, 2003 4:19 PM
    >Subject: Re: royalty
    >> Glenn Morton wrote:
    >> >
    >> > This royalty thread seems amazing to me. If the medieval clerics would
    >> > bar-b-que you for claiming that the earth went round the sun or for
    >> > suggesting that one could read the Bible apart from the clerics, it
    >seems to
    >> > me that any claim to be descended from a sinful affair between
    >Jesus and
    >> > Mary Magdalene, would gain one quick entry into the afterlife.
    >> It wasn't generally held in the Middle Ages that it was wrong for the
    >laity to
    >> read the Bible. Of course most laypeople couldn't read anything &, while
    >there were
    >> vernacular versions available, most Bibles were in Latin. & it's true
    >that laypeople
    >> generally weren't encouraged to read the Bible. But the chains sometimes
    >seen on
    >> medieval Bibles were to keep them from being stolen, not to keep people
    >from reading
    >> them.
    >> Shalom,
    >> George
    >> --
    >> George L. Murphy

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