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Retrying Galileo, 1633-1992$
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Maurice Finocchiaro

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780520242616

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520242616.001.0001

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Myth-making or Enlightenment?

Myth-making or Enlightenment?

Pascal, Voltaire, the Encyclopedia (1657–1777)

(p.108) Chapter 6 Myth-making or Enlightenment?
Retrying Galileo, 1633-1992

Maurice A. Finocchiaro

University of California Press

This chapter explores a miscellany of texts and events that begin in the period 1657–1777. It investigates the reappearance of Blaise Pascal's comparison in the French Encyclopedia. Antoine Arnauld understood that the condemnation was based on the claim that the earth's motion was “false and absurd in philosophy.” In 1709, in a work on the history of heresy, Domenico Bernini asserted that Galileo was held in an Inquisition prison for five years. Pierre Estève stated that Galileo had his eyes gouged out as part of his punishment. Voltaire had fallen under the spell of the prison myth. Jean D'Alembert interpreted Galileo's trial as epitomizing the conflict between science and religion. D'Alembert was sincere in his respectful and positive expressions about Pope Benedict XIV, and indeed this pope was generally liked and respected.

Keywords:   Blaise Pascal, Antoine Arnauld, Domenico Bernini, Pierre Estève, Galileo, Jean D'Alembert, Voltaire, Encyclopedia

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