by cheri block
This quarter, we have been studying the trial of Galileo and the factors that led up to it. What has been most surprising to me is how complicated the circumstances were. In other words, this affair was not just a battle between science and faith. It was so much more.
I’m still trying to piece it all together—the scientific, the philosophical, the Aristotelian, the political, the theologicial (and the myriad issues there….the Jesuits, the Dominicans, the Popes), the psychological, socio-professional, and a number of other avenues one can walk down in trying to understand the Galileo affair.
To visualize this enormous topic, I made a Clue game.
Clue has been around since 1949 when it was invented in England.
The object of the game is to determine who committed the crime, in what room, and with what weapon. Was it Colonel Mustard in the Dining Room with the Knife?
My game has the following rooms: the Observatory, the Pigeon Coop, the Roman Court, the Florentine Court, the Scholastic Room, Heretics’ Corner, the Crying Porch, the Jesuit Room, and the Red Room.
We know who committed the crime (Galileo) but what was the crime? And what was the weapon? In which room was it committed?
The Observatory: there are Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler, and Giordano Bruno.
The Pigeon Coop: named after the Florentine “Pigeon League” in this room are three Dominican Friars who started the problems for Galileo: delle Columbe, Caccini, and Lorini.
The Roman Court: Popes Paul V, Maffeo Barberini (who became Pope Urban VIII)and a host of Papal pets.
The Florentine Court: Home of the de’Medici family: Cosimo II and his mother, the Grand Duchess Christina.
The Scholastic Corner: the scholastics were priests who had come through the Thomas Aquinas fusion of Christian and Aristotelian thought.
Heretics’ Corner: Giordano Bruno, one of the most extreme heretics of this period, is here.
The Crying Porch: In a room decorated with Freud’s couch, are Galileo’s sympathizers: Tommaso Campanella, Paolo Foscarini, his daughter Suor Celeste, and even the Scholastic Claudius Clavius.
The Jesuit Room: the Jesuits in Rome made a great deal of trouble for Galileo, especially Aquaviva and Scheiner.
The Red Room: The Red Room is devoted solely to the big man in red: Cardinal Robert Bellarmine who would warn Galileo about promoting the Copernican view of heliocentricity and a geokenetic earth. Bellarmine was the foremost theologian after the Council of Trent that ended around 1563 or so. Bellarmine had died before Galileo’s trial, but he would be there in spirit.
These are just a few of the possibilities in the Galileo Affair.
By the way, the Catholic Church officially pardoned Galileo in 1992.