A True Demonstration: Bellarmine and the Stars as Evidence Against Earth’s Motion in the Early Seventeenth Century

  • Article (PDF)
  • 17 pages
  • Level: high school and above

This 2011 article from Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture presents the following argument: In 1615 Robert Cardinal Bellarmine demanded a “true demonstration” of Earth’s motion before he would cease to doubt the Copernican world system. No such demonstration was available because the geocentric Tychonic world system was a viable alternative to the heliocentric Copernican system. On the contrary, recent work concerning early observations of stars suggests that, thanks to astronomers’ misunderstanding of the images of stars seen through the telescope, the only “true demonstration” the telescope provided in Bellarmine’s day showed the earth not to circle the Sun. This had been discussed by the German astronomer Simon Marius, in his Mundus Iovialis, just prior to Bellarmine’s request for a “true demonstration.”

Click here to download “A True Demonstration: Bellarmine and the Stars as Evidence Against Earth’s Motion in the Early Seventeenth Century” directly from Logos.

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