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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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Incompetence or Enlightenment?

Incompetence or Enlightenment?

Pope Benedict XIV (1740–1758)

(p.126) Chapter 7 Incompetence or Enlightenment?
Retrying Galileo, 1633-1992

Maurice A. Finocchiaro

University of California Press

Prospero Lambertini was elected Pope Benedict XIV; he reigned until 1758. His reputation for enlightenment was generally well deserved. It was during his papacy that two important events in the subsequent Galileo affair occurred: in 1744 Galileo's Dialogue was republished for the first time with the Church's approval as the fourth volume of the Padua edition of his collected works; and in 1758 the new edition of the Index dropped the prohibition against “all books teaching the earth's motion and the sun's immobility.” Pope Benedict XIV enlightenment may have encouraged church officials to adopt toward the issue of the scientific (philosophical) authority of Scripture an attitude similar to that adopted toward the issue of the earth's motion. It is clear that Jesuit Pietro Lazzari was addressing not the issue of the condemnation of Galileo but that of the condemnation of Copernicanism.

Keywords:   Pope Benedict XIV, enlightenment, Galileo, Dialogue, Index, Jesuit Pietro Lazzari, condemnation, Copernicanism

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