Galileo wrote a letter to his former student, the Benedictine Benedetto Castelli (1578-1643), about how the Earth’s movement around the sun need not be understood in opposition to Sacred Scripture. Alluding to the exegetical proposal he would develop further in his later letter to the Grand Duchess of Tuscany, Galileo gives as an argument for the Earth’s rotation the analogy of the sun’s rotation on its own axis and the reasonableness of maintaining that the sun’s greater size and dignity suggests its central role: “For I have discovered and conclusively demonstrated that the solar globe turns on itself, completing an entire rotation in about one lunar month, in exactly the same direction as all the other heavenly revolutions; moreover, it is very probable and reasonable that, as the chief instrument and minister of nature and almost the heart of the world, the sun gives not only light (as it obviously does) but also motion to all the planets that revolve around it.” One year later, on December 21, 1614, Galileo was attacked from the pulpit by a Dominican, Tommaso Caccini, in the church of Santa Maria Novella, for teaching the Copernican theory.
The Interdisciplinary Encyclopedia of Religion and Science (ISSN: 2037-2329), published by the Centro di Documentazione Interdisciplinare di Scienza e Fede operating at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, provides new, scholarly articles in the rapidly growing international field of Religion and Science. Most of these articles were written primarily by European authors and are available here for the first time in English. They offer a unique window into the approaches and perspectives of the European community toward what has become a field of immense cultural significance throughout the world. Each article provides a very readable and comprehensive summary of what is currently being discussed in religion and science on specific topics as well as how these topics have been discussed historically.
In order to make certain documents better known in the scientific community, the Anthology and Documents section provides key materials for study and reflection concerning the dialogue among science, philosophy, and theology. It includes scientists’ essays, masterpieces on the history of science, works of philosophers and theologians, and documents from ancient, medieval, and Renaissance authors, as well as Sacred Scripture and official documents of the Catholic Church and other Christian churches.