Was Christianity responsible for the death of Greek science?

May 24, 2011

The Claim

Early Muslims repeatedly claimed for polemical purposes that Christianity brought Greek science to an end.[1] [2] [3] This view has become commonly accepted,[4] though the reality is different. [5]

Dating the Decline

Although estimates vary, historians of science typically agree that the decline of Greek science started before the Christian era.[6] [7] Farrington dates the decline from the 4th century BCE, [8] Seitz likewise,[9]  Ceccarelli from the end of the Alexandrian era in the next century (3rd century BCE),[10] Rana from 120 BCE,[11]and Toulmin and Goodfield from around the same era.[12]

Reasons for the Decline

Though reasons for the decline of Greek science involve a complex interplay of factors, historians of science suggest a range of causes which have nothing to do with Christianity.

Devreese and Berghe identify a stagnation in Greek science resulting from the uncritical systematization of previous research, which was accepted without challenge, stifling further development.[13]

The same suggestion is made by Cohen,[14] Pedersen,[15] and Toulmin and Goodfield.[16] Toulmin and Goodfield also note that increasing emphasis on the pagan mythological worldview, with its worship of the heavens and its religious explanations for natural phenomena, caused Greek science to lose ground. [17] [18]  [19]  [20]

Succeeding pagan philosophical systems contributed to disinterest in scientific enquiry during the Roman era.[21]  Similarly, Olson identifies Greek ideological reasons for the scientific decline.[22]

Lloyd, Cohen, and Gazale likewise suggest Greek science reached its limits for reasons within Greek civilization itself.[23] [24] [25] Lloyd’s comments include criticism of the pagan Greek cosmology and mythology, which led scientific inquiry into errors such as geocentrism.[26] [27] Haffner makes the same observation.[28] [29]

[1] ‘Like the Hellenes of late antiquity, who were convinced that the rise of Christianity meant the end of Greek science,77 Muslim authors blamed the decline of science and philosophy on the Christianization of the Roman empire.’, El-Cheikh, ‘Byzantium Viewed by the Arabs’, p. 106 (2004).

[2] ‘Writing in the Almohad court, Abu Yahya b. Mas’ada similarly places the blame for the decline of science on Constantine the Great:’, ibid., p. 108.

[3] ‘They all stress that the decline began in the fourth century A.D. and that Christianity was its root cause.’, ibid., p. 108.

[4] ‘The common assumption has been that Christianity was anti-intellectual, preferring faith instead of knowledge, and this was responsible for the decline of science from which it did not recover for a millennium’, Lestrel, ‘Morphometrics for the Life Sciences’, p. 66 (2000).

[5] ‘This is an oversimplification, as the picture is considerably more complicated (Lindbe, 1992).’, ibid., p. 66.

[6] ‘Nevertheless, it is agreed by most historians of ancient science that creative Greek science was on the wane, perhaps as early as 200 B.C., certainly by A.D. 200.‘, Lindberg, ‘Science and the Early Church’, in Lindberg & Numbers, ‘God and Nature: historical essays on the encounter between Christianity and science’, p. 30 (1986).

[7]At the end of the second century, when the great Hellenistic kingdoms declined, falling directly or indirectly under the sway of Rome, science seems to have fallen into a state of stagnation. True, the Greek part of the Roman Empire would witness the rise to fame of such great scientists as the physician Galen and the geographer and astronomer Ptolemy, but the golden age of Greek science and, for that matter, of Greek philosophy, had passed.’, UNESCO, ‘History of Humanity: From the seventh century B.C. to the seventh century A.D.’, p. 199 (1996).

[8] ‘Benjamin Farrington, Greek Science (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1961), would push the decline of Greek science even earlier, to the fourth century BC.’, Lindberg, ‘Science and the Early Church’, ibid., p. 45.

[9] ‘The highly innovative period of Greek science which lasted from about 500 BC to about 300 BC and, in a very real sense reached something in the nature of a termination with the rejection of Aristarchus’ solar-centered planetary system, was followed not so much by stagnation as by ferment of a very different kind from that which had taken place earlier.’, Seitz, ‘The Science Matrix: the Journey, Travails, Triumphs’, p. 22 (1998).

[10]The end of the Alexandrian era marked the eclipse of the ancient Greek science, and the systematic study of the design of machines became stagnant for a long period of time.’, Ceccarelli, ‘Distinguished Figures in Mechanism and Machine Science’, p. 5 (2007).

[11]After about 120 BC, the Greek Science started to lose its originality. Little of worth was produced after 200 A.D.’, Rana, ‘Geographical Thought: A systematic record of evolution’, p. 50 (2004).

[12]It was not only that the first enthusiasm had gone: in addition, from 100 B.C. on, men began to doubt more and more whether after all rational inquiry alone could uncover the workings of the Heavens. And since this problem had been something of a touchstone for natural philosophy, failure in this direction had wider repercussions.’, Toulmin & Goodfield, ‘The fabric of the heavens: the development of astronomy and dynamics’, p. 130 (1999).

[13] ‘One of the reasons why Greek science came to a halt is that the ideas of leading philosophers were accepted as decisive, while empirical tests were barely pursued.’, Devreese & Berghe, ”Magic is no magic’: the wonderful world of Simon Stevin’, p. xiv (2008).

[14]In short, after A.D. 200 much effort is being spent on preserving the results of scientific inquiry achieved in earlier times, but (with the sole exceptions of Diophantos in the 3rd, Proklos in the 4th, and Philoponus in the 6th century A.D.) the original spirit of fresh research has meanwhile been lost.’, Cohen, ‘The Scientific Revolution: a historiographical inquiry’, p. 253 (1994).

[15]Backed by their enormous library, Alexandrian scholars turned more and more to the systematization of past results. They were brilliant compilers, editors, and encyclopedists. Only Ptolemy’s eminent and creative work in astronomy is an exception. When with the advent of Plotinus (third century A.D.) neo-Platonist philosophy captured the minds of creative thinkers, the tide had turned. Later commentators like Proclos or Johannes Philoponus might occasionally venture new ideas of lasting value, and the writings of Simplikios must be regarded as an original contribution, as well as useful to a better understanding of traditional doctrines; but, in general, Hellenistic science had become stagnant.’, Pedersen, ‘Early Physics and Astronomy: A historical introduction’, p. 151 (1993).

[16]‘Greek astronomers began to limit their ambitions, and to concentrate on doing those things that they were already good at doing. They became satisfied with making small amendments to existing mathematical theories; filling in details rather than branching out in new directions. Since the progress of science demands that we should always be trying to solve the problems that have so far defeated us, and not just go on applying the techniques we already have, later Greek scientists in this way contributed positively to the decline of their subject.’, Toulmin & Goodfield, ‘The fabric of the heavens: the development of astronomy and dynamics’, pp. 130-131 (1999).

[17]‘By A.D. 200, astrology had recovered all the ground it ever lost, and had effectively displaced rational astrophysics.’, ibid., p. 130.

[18] ‘Compare Ptolemy’s position, as stated here, with the attitudes of the earlier Greek natural philosophers. We are half-way back to the Babylonians.’, ibid., p. 143 (1999).

[19] ‘The original Greek ambition to explain heavenly happenings in terms of causes familiar to us on Earth has been abandoned.’, ibid., p. 144.

[20]‘Aristotle’s physical distinction between the changeable Earth and the changeless Heavens was now taken with full theological earnestness; things in the Heavens were once again made objects of worship, as they had been in Babylonian times;’, ibid., p. 145.

[21] ‘The Stoics had some valuable scientific ideas, particularly in connection with matter-theory, but for many of them the Divinity of the Heavens – which for Aristotle was a theoretical insight – was important rather as a profound religious truth. On this basis, some of them even built up a sophisticated kind of star-worship, teaching that a man’s soul escaped at death from his body, to be reunited with his own personal star. (Plate 5.) They believed that all natural events were causally determined, but this belief encouraged not scientific enquiry so much as faith in divination. Among the Romans, the serious alternative to Stoicism was the philosophy of Epicurus. This doctrine did no more than Stoicism to encourage scientific work: if anything, the Epicureans were even less interested in questions of astronomy. They turned men’s attention right away from the Heavens, arguing that what went on in the sky was of no concern to men, whose proper business was with the problems of life on this Earth. The Roman poet Lucretius, who popularized Epicurus’ views in the first century B.C., even dismissed the idea of the Antipodes and treated the sphericity of the Earth – which had been a commonplace in Athens for several centuries – as an entirely unproved speculation.’, ibid., p. 147.

[22] ‘But among the significant factors, one must surely acknowledge the fact that for ideological reasons, Greek scientists seldom sought ways of developing practical consequences from their discoveries.’, Olson, ‘Science Deified and Science Defied: The Historical Significance of Science Vol. 1: From Bronze Age to the Beginnings of the Modern Era, ca 3500 B.C. to A.D. 1640’, p. 144 (1983).

[23] ‘It is far from self-evident that Greek science, on the eve of its decay, still possessed an inherent capability for further growth. Rather, there are signs that Greek science had indeed reached the limits set to its natural progress:’, Cohen, ‘The Scientific Revolution: A historiographical inquiry’, p. 396 (1994).

[24] ‘Altogether, to the small extent that Lloyd seeks to explain the lack of continuous growth displayed by Greek thought on nature, he ascribes it to “the weakness of the social and ideological basis of ancient science.”’, ibid., pp. 253-254.

[25] ‘That view is not entirely fair, and the decline of Greek science should not be attributed solely to the Roman conquest. Its seeds must be sought within the Greek civilization itself. According to L. Brunschwig, “The science of antiquity lacked what we regard today as the very condition of knowledge: the connection between calculation and physical experimentation.”‘, Gazale, ‘Number: from Ahmes to Cantor’, p. 37 (2009).

[26] ‘Nevertheless, despite the fertility in ideas, and despite the development of criteria and methods, the dominant cosmological view remained anthropocentric. The victory of geocentricity over heliocentricity was both a symptom and a cause of this.’, Lloyd, ‘Methods and Problems in Greek Science: Selected Papers’, p. 161 (1993).

[27] ‘The anthropocentrism of Greek cosmology and science is in certain respects at least, a weakness.’, ibid., p. 162.

[28] ‘The fundamental reason for the stillbirth of science in ancient Greece was a world view ‘steeped in the idea of eternal cycles.’ According to Aristotle, everything general, including ideas, recurred cyclically, and this undermined the concept of time.’, Haffner, ‘The Mystery of Reason’, p. 155 (2001).

[29] ‘The Great Year was a circular barrier for the Greek mind and deprived it of insights and aspirations which were necessary for the growth of science.’, ibid., p. 155.

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  1. Was Christianity responsible for the death of Greek science? And who was Hypatia? Are both related. According to the ancient chroniclers Hypathia was by Christian monks at the hand of the High Priest in Alexandra at the time. Political or not, it was still executed by a Christian Hight Priest and his monks.

    Who or what were the Christians in that day? Irenaeus seems to embrace the sciences as necessary but claims that many Christians in his day (Valentinians in this reference) Embrace science by word, but turn to lustful pursuits all the time claiming that Jesus was their Master. Just like today, imagine that.

    In this case Irenaeus embraces the Arts and Sciences, but condemns people who boast of Jesus as their master, while putting science and art aside. That would make modern creationists heretics by the criteria of Irenaeus wouldn’t it?

    Why did the Church condemn Galileo and Kepler? Christianity isn’t the problem, it’s churches that are corrupt.

    The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis., records some of the more color full Christian practices in that day. Ever raise your palms to God while praying, I ain’t shakin’ your hand that’s fo sho. ;-))))

    Irenaeus 2:32:2

    2. When they further maintain that it is incumbent on them to have experience of every kind of work and conduct, so that, if it be possible, accomplishing all during one manifestation in this life, they may [at once] pass over to the state of perfection, they are, by no chance, found striving to do those things which wait upon virtue, and are laborious, glorious, and skilful, which also are approved universally as being good. For if it be necessary to go through every work and every kind of operation, they ought, in the first place, to learn all the arts: all of them, [I say,] whether referring to theory or practice, whether they be acquired by self-denial, or are mastered through means of labour, exercise, and perseverance; as, for example, every kind of music, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and all such as are occupied with intellectual pursuits: then, again, the whole study of medicine, and the knowledge of plants, so as to become acquainted with those which are prepared for the health of man; the art of painting and sculpture, brass and marble work, and the kindred arts: moreover, [they have to study] every kind of country labour, the veterinary art, pastoral occupations, the various kinds of skilled labour, which are said to pervade the whole circle of [human] exertion; those, again, connected with a maritime life, gymnastic exercises, hunting, military and kingly pursuits, and as many others as may exist, of which, with the utmost labour, they could not learn the tenth, or even the thousandth part, in the whole course of their lives. The fact indeed is, that they endeavour to learn none of these, although they maintain that it is incumbent on them to have experience of every kind of work; but, turning aside to voluptuousness, and lust, and abominable actions, they stand self-condemned when they are tried by their own doctrine. For, since they are destitute of all those [virtues] which have been mentioned, they will [of necessity] pass into the destruction of fire. These men, while they boast of Jesus as being their Master, do in fact emulate the philosophy of Epicurus and the indifference of the Cynics, [calling Jesus their Master,] who not only turned His disciples away from evil deeds, but even from [wicked] words and thoughts, as I have already shown.

  2. No Christianity was not responsible for the death of Greek science. I already addressed Hypatia:


    What you say about Hypatia isn’t true. Her death was not ‘executed by a Christian Hight Priest and his monks’. Kepler was not condemned by the Church, and Galileo’s problems with the Church were political, not scientific.

    • Great response to this atheists myths against christianity. Congratulations to this wonderful site. Greetings from Brazil.

  3. Kepler
    In 1625, agents of the Catholic Counter-Reformation placed most of Kepler’s library under seal, and in 1626 the city of Linz was besieged. Kepler moved to Ulm, where he arranged for the printing of the Tables at his own expense.

    Galileo was found “vehemently suspect of heresy”, namely of having held the opinions that the Sun lies motionless at the centre of the universe, that the Earth is not at its centre and moves

    He was sentenced to formal imprisonment at the pleasure of the Inquisition. On the following day this was commuted to house arrest, which he remained under for the rest of his life.

    His offending Dialogue was banned; and in an action not announced at the trial, publication of any of his works was forbidden, including any he might write in the future.

    Hypatia was believed to be the cause of strained relations between Orestes, the Imperial Roman Prefect, and the Patriarch Cyril, thus she attracted the hatred of the Christians of Alexandria, who wanted the politician and the priest to reconcile. One day, in March AD 415, during Lent, a Christian mob of Nitrian monks led by “Peter the Reader,” waylaid Hypatia’s chariot as she travelled home. The monks attacked Hypatia, then stripped her naked, to humiliate her, then dragged her through the streets to the recently Christianised Caesareum church, where they killed her. The reports suggest that the mob of Christian monks flayed her body with ostraca (pot shards), and then burned her alive:

    ~O’Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., “Hypatia”, MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews.

    Here again your question is very narrow. What does “the death of Greek Science” mean? We still use Greek Science today.

    The Church did back then as it does today. The Church suppresses Science, until those we love lives are on the line, then we’ll embrace science.

    Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.


  4. I note that:

    * You have failed to support your claim that Kepler was condemned by the Church

    * You have failed to address the fact that Galileo’s problems with the Church were political, not scientific; as you say, he was accused of HERESY, although his conclusions had already been used by Jesuit scientists, and continued to be used by them

    * You have failed to prove your claim that Hypatia was ‘executed by a Christian Hight Priest and his monks’; please read my article on Hypatia

    Your claims are representative of badly outdated scholarship from the 19th century, which has been debunked comprehensively.

    • WOW. His answer is virtually annihilates away the pathetic claims of those guys. These atheists and secularists keep repeating like parrots ideas stuck already answered Dawkins, Hitchens, Sagan and…

  5. You say ‘failed to support’, however I have directly supported and addressed these issues. Maybe you mean I’ve failed to ‘prove’ anything. In which case I agree, however you have failed to support any view.

    If a Church group (Jesuits for example) accept an idea, while another Church group (the Pope for example) condemns the idea, then it just means the Church was divided or changed its policy over time.

    Pope Urban VIII was a Jesuit who liked Galileo in the beginning but later brought him to Rome to recant his work. The Catholic Church is known for changing its views. BTW everybody today accept Keplers views not just the Jesuits.

    If you’re standing before a court in a political system and the charge against you is heresy, is that a political crime? What if the judge is also the Pope?

    In 1625 the Counter-Reformation (a Catholic organization directly under Pope Urban VIII) placed Kepler’s library under seal. This does ‘support’ the claim that the Church condemned Kepler’s work.

    In 1633 the Counter-Reformation brought Galileo to Rome to recant his work, and he remained there for the rest of his life. This does ‘address’ the idea of the Church condeming Galileo’s work.

    I have failed to prove my claim that Hypatia was ‘executed by a Christian High Priest and his monks’. However all the reports seem to involve members of the Church. Also the sources you cite just say it wasn’t done for religious reasons per se but still done by Cyril, an ambitious and ruthless churchman. You say politics, but its politics within the church.

    Not only that but what you consider ‘proof’ seems to be other authors expressing their ‘opinion’.

    The Church is deathly afraid of Science.


  6. * When I say ‘failed to support’, I mean ‘failed to provide any evidence for’; you haven’t produced any evidence yet

    * You still haven’t shown me that ‘the Church’ condemned KEPLER; the best you could do was to say ‘agents of the Catholic Counter-Reformation placed most of Kepler’s library under seal’, but there is no condemnation of Kepler here so where is your evidence that ‘the Church’ condemned Kepler?

    * You have not yet provided any evidence that Galileo’s arrest was an attempt to suppress his scientific work

    * We are agreed that Hypatia’s death involved members of the Church, but that was not your original claim

    To date you have failed to provide any evidence supporting your claim that these are historical examples of the Church suppressing science. These cases are all treated extensively in the relevant scholarly literature, of which you seem completely unaware.

    You say ‘The Church is deathly afraid of Science’, which is complete nonsense.

  7. You’re arguing semantics.

    to express an unfavorable or adverse judgment on; indicate strong disapproval of; censure.

    the whole body of Christian believers; Christendom.

    The Catholic Counter-Reformation was a movement against the Protestants. In that regard the whole body of Christian believers didn’t condemn (censure) Galileo and Kepler, only the Catholic Church. Although Pope Urban VIII at that time claimed to be the common Father of all Christendom. If Galileo had never made claims of a heliocentric solar system he would not have been called to Rome. The Church (OK Catholic Church) did indeed censure (condemn) both Kepler and Galileo. Here again we can call it political, but it was political within the Church.

    The facts are that the Church did censure Kepler and Galileo, and this was done strictly because of their claim of a heliocentric solar system. Nobody disputes that. Who claims that if Galileo and Kepler were in lock step with the Church at that time, they would still have been censured?

    The Julian calendar was out of season, it had degraded by 10 days over the years and needed an intercalary event. Kepler and Galileo wouldn’t have been a blip on the radar if the calendar hadn’t slipped out of season. Pope Gregory XIII reformed the Julian calendar because the Church couldn’t keep the days and nights in their proper season, only mathematics could do that. The Church knew that according to Jeremiah 33 if they couldn’t keep the days and nights in their season, the seed of David would be taken away, (and in Jeremiah 33 it was).


    Catholic Encyclopedia, Pope Urban VIII
    During Urban’s pontificate occurred the second trial and condemnation of Galileo by the Roman Inquisition.

    What was the Roman Inquisition?

    Catholic Encyclopedia, Roman Inquisition
    By this term is usually meant a special ecclesiastical institution for combating or suppressing heresy. Its characteristic mark seems to be the bestowal on special judges of judicial powers in matters of faith, and this by supreme ecclesiastical authority, not temporal or for individual cases, but as a universal and permanent office.

    Jeremiah 33
    20 Thus saith the LORD; If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season;
    21 Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers.
    22 As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me.
    23 Moreover the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying,
    24 Considerest thou not what this people have spoken, saying, The two families which the LORD hath chosen, he hath even cast them off? thus they have despised my people, that they should be no more a nation before them.
    25 Thus saith the LORD; If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth;
    26 Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them.

  8. * This is not a matter of semantics, the Church never condemned or censured Kepler; this is a matter of historical record, and you have been unable to find any evidence that they did any such thing

    * Neither Galileo nor Kepler were condemned for proposing heliocentrism; Copernicus had already proposed it earlier without condemnation

    The rest of what you wrote was personal theology, but nothing to do with the historical issues being discussed.


  9. I don’t think you even read your own sources sometimes. I read the entire link you posted. Here is the charge against Galileo from your link.

    “to abandon completely the above-mentioned opinion that the sun stands still at the centre of the world and the earth moves, and henceforth not to hold, teach, or defend it in any way whatever, either orally or in writing; otherwise the Holy Office would start proceedings against him.”

    This is my claim. If Galileo hadn’t taught, “that the sun stands still at the centre of the world and the earth moves”, he would not have been investigated by the Holy Office. Same with Kepler.

    What spicifically in the link you posted says that Galileo was investigated and brought before the Florentine Inquisitor for something other than his teachings?

    Anybody can post a link to 5 pages of text and say, “here’s your answer”. Galileo was brought before the Florentine Inquisitor, because he taught “that the sun stands still at the centre of the world and the earth moves”.


    from your link;

    matters came to a head when a document was discovered in the files of the Holy Office which apparently showed Galileo have been ordered not to “hold, teach or defend” Copernicanism “in any way”. Since this injunction is so important to the subsequent trial, we shall quote it in full:

    “At the palace of the usual residence of the said Most Illustrious Lord Cardinal Bellarmine and in the chambers of His Most Illustrious Lordship, and fully in the presence of the Reverend Father Michelangelo Segizzi of Lodi, O.P. and Commissary General of the Holy Office, having summoned the above-mentioned Galileo before himself, the same Most Illustrious Lord Cardinal warned Galileo that the above-mentioned opinion was erroneous and that he should abandon it; and thereafter, indeed immediately, before me and witnesses, the Most Illustrious Lord Cardinal himself being also present still, the aforesaid Father Commissary, in the name of His Holiness the Pope and the whole Congregation of the Holy Office, ordered and enjoined the said Galileo, who was himself still present, to abandon completely the above-mentioned opinion that the sun stands still at the centre of the world and the earth moves, and henceforth not to hold, teach, or defend it in any way whatever, either orally or in writing; otherwise the Holy Office would start proceedings against him. The same Galileo acquiesced in this injunction and promised to obey.” (Finocchiaro, op cit: 147-148)

    Since it was plain to anyone who had read the Dialogue that Galileo had broken these terms, it seemed he was finished. Urban VIII’s Commission inevitably decided that the Holy Office should investigate the work (XIV, 398) and on the 23rd of September the Congregation met to discuss the Commission’s report. There he was charged with having “been deceitfully silent about the command laid upon him by the Holy Office, in the year 1616″ (XIX, 279-280) and the Pope ordered that Galileo be brought to Rome by October to appear before the Commissary general.

    Galileo received this command from the Florentine Inquisitor on the 1st of October and agreed to follow it (XIX, 331-332). He could do little else. Even so, he wrote to Cardinal Francesco Barberini to ask for his help, suggesting that an alternative to the long journey to Rome would be to appear before the Inquisitor in Florence

  10. Please read the link. It shows that Copernicus had already argued for heliocentrism without being condemned, that Kepler wasn’t condemned either, that the Jesuits had already confirmed the truth of Galileo’s heliocentric argument with their own experiments, that Galileo gave demonstrations to the Jesuit scientists and even to the Pope, and was WELL RECEIVED for having done so. Look here.


    In spite of these, Galileo gave three public lectures in Padua and the Jesuits in Rome, including Clavius, verified his observations as soon as they obtained a suitably powerful telescope. Finally, on the 20th of March, 1611, Galileo arrived in Rome where he was feted as a hero, welcomed by Cardinals and provided with opportunities to give demonstrations in the gardens of the rich and powerful.

    He was granted an audience with Pope Paul V, inducted into Marquis (later Prince) Federico Cesi’s Accademia dei Lincei (the Academy of the Lynx-Eyed, the first scientific academy) on the 25th of April, and received with much ceremony by the Jesuits at the Roman College on the 13th of May where an address entitled The Sidereal Message was read in his honour in the presence of the entire College and many Cardinals.

    And again.

    We have already seen that the Jesuits lauded Galileo’s telescopic achievements in 1611; a response from some of the Dominicans was not long in coming.

    The article describe your particular view as a myth. Under ‘The Myths’ it says this.

    According to one of these readings, Galileo knew the Earth to go round the Sun, as Copernicus had written, rather than the converse as implied in several Biblical passages. The Church would not allow science to disprove the revealed truth of Scripture, however, and hence threw Galileo to the Inquisition where he was forced under threat of torture to disclaim this opinion and never speak of it again. He was then imprisoned under house arrest for the remainder of his life, a clear example of the conflict between scientific investigation of the world around us and the presumed infallible authority of the Bible.

    Please read the article. There is no dispute that Galileo’s heliocentrism was used in the charges made against him, but it was not the reason why he was charged. The use of his heliocentrism (which had previously been approved), was simply an attempt to charge him with heresy and get him out of the way of his political enemies. The motivation was entirely political, and had nothing to do with theology or science.

  11. Fortigurn> Please read the article. There is no dispute that Galileo’s heliocentrism was used in the charges made against him, but it was not the reason why he was charged. The use of his heliocentrism (which had previously been approved), was simply an attempt to charge him with heresy and get him out of the way of his political enemies. The motivation was entirely political, and had nothing to do with theology or science.

    Rose> I think the article is a well balanced historical account. The article never says the church was innocent of anything, in fact it says Pope Urban VIII (a Jesuit) believed the Copernican theory was false. They worked to get the work prohibited. While the theory may have been accepted at one time, the Church and it’s holy Father changed their view for whatever reason. How can you say the Church didn’t censure Galileo? It was by the holy Father of the Church.

    In a long letter to Guidicci from Filippo Magaloti, a Florentine and relative of the Pontiff, the latter explained that the work was being recalled only to add the arguments that Urban VIII had used to convince Galileo “of the falsity of the Copernican theory”. Having said this, he became more candid:

    “This is the pretext; but the real fact is that the Jesuit Fathers are working most valiantly in an underhanded way to get the work prohibited. The reverend Father’s [Riccardi's] own words to me were: ‘The Jesuits will persecute him most bitterly.’” (XIV, 370)

    For his part, Galileo had seen his attempt to save his Church from this mistake crushed by the authoritarianism he had sought to delimit to theology. Writing in 1633 to his friend Diodati of yet another attack on Copernicanism by Libert Froidmont, he asked

    “[w]hen Froidmont or others have established that to say the earth moves is heresy, while demonstrations, observations, and necessary conclusions show that it does move, in what swamp will he have lost himself and the Holy Church?” (XV, 25)

    Rose> Now here’s the kicker. Pope Urban VIII also sealed up Keplers work (censured). This had nothing to do with “getting Galileo out of the way”. So the question is if Galileo was censured by the Church for purely political reasons, why would the same Pope seal Keplers work?

    The complex tale that is the Galileo affair cautions us not to make simplistic judgements. Nevertheless, it remains the case that the question of whether or not Galileo had any proof for Copernicanism was never at issue—in 1616 or in 1633. The very possibility of any demonstration was excluded in principle by Bellarmine’s doctrinal position and its adoption by an authoritarian Church. The trial and abjuration of Galileo thus represented an “institutionalised abuse of power which can never be sufficiently deprecated” (ibid), in which the societal position of the Church was used to dictate the correct understanding of an issue that was never considered on its own terms.

    in which the societal position of the Church was used to dictate the correct understanding of an issue that was never considered on its own terms.

    The article says Galileo was censured by the Church.


  12. The Church today still suppresses science. The modern Church realizes it can’t defend itself against mathematics and experiments with repeatable results. So the modern Church uses a different tactic. The Church takes the reality out of the Holy Scriptures and interprets them as supernatural fiction. Instead of making claims that science is wrong, the modern Church chooses to create fictional accounts and dogma to separate itself from science.

    Here is a prime example. The church has known for a thousand years what the Apocalyptic books were about. For example how about the Sun standing down to the Moon in the middle of the day (Joshua 10 in the Hebrew text)? There was a Total Solar Eclipse directly over the Valley of Agilon at 12 noon, on September 30, 1131 BCE. This was an extremely rare direct hit, and a very long total solar eclipse. Joshua chapter one begins about 1550 BCE (or so) with the fall of Jericho. Kathleen Kenyon says the walls of Jericho fell for the final time between 1550 BCE and 1500 BCE.

    The events in chapter seven take place about 1275 BCE, as the battle of Ai is actually the battle of the river Assi or the battle of Kadesh. The events in chapter ten take place about 1131 BCE.

    Daniel has two visions the first was in Babylon during the first year of a Babylonian king, the second was at the Shushan Palace in the third year of the same king. The second vision happens directly between the horns. There was a solar eclipse over Babylon in the first year of a Babylonian king, and a second solar eclipse over Shushan Palace in the third year of that same king and the second eclipse was directly between the horns of Taurus. The odds of that happening are millions to one.

    How about the New Testament? The total solar eclipse over Patmos on April 30, 59 CE was right beside the Pleiades (seven sisters). The other solar eclipse over Patmos was on September 4, 164 CE about 30 years before the first mention of the book of Revelation historically. This eclipse happened directly in Virgo (the virgin) and the multi headed beast (Hydra) is right beside her.

    The Church has known this all along. The Vatican has its own astronomer. http://vaticanobservatory.org/

    Now you know the mystery as well. The Bible never was supernatural, it’s real and historically accurate. The Church chooses to propagate a noble lie among the ignorant.

    Why not publish this? After all anybody can recreate the results, the places and regional years of the kings confirm the locations. It’s so obvious, yet so very very toxic. It’s like publishing that the Quran is a forgery. Nobody will touch it.


    1) The day the Earth Stood Still (Joshua 10), September 30, 1131 BCE
    2) The sundial moving 10 degrees (2 Kings 20, Isaiah 38), March 5, 702 BCE
    3) The vision at Babylon (Daniel 7), January 14, 559 BCE
    4) The vision at Shushan palace (Daniel 8), May 19, 557 BCE
    5) Ezekiel solar eclipse (Ezekiel 1), May 19, 557 BCE

    6) Eclipse of the Magi (Matthew 2), June 30, 10 BCE
    7) The seven candlesticks (Revelation 1), April 30, 59 CE
    8) The virgin with a crown of 12 stars (Revelation 12), September 4, 164 CE

    Daniel 7
    1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters.
    2 Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.
    3 And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.

    Daniel 8
    1 In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first.
    2 And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of Ulai.
    3 Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last.

    Belshazzar = Nergal-Shazzar in Daniel 7 & 8.

  13. Consider the Greek text by Aratus, Titled, Phaenomena (about 350 BCE)

    [342] Beside the tail of the Great Dog the ship Argo is hauled stern-foremost. For not hers is the proper course of a ship in motion, but she is borne backwards, reversed even as real ships, when already the sailors turn the stern to the land as they enter the haven, and every one back-paddles the ship, but she rushing sternward lays hold of the shore. Even so is the Argo of Jason borne along stern-foremost. Partly in mist is she borne along, and starless from her prow even to the mast, but the hull is wholly wreathed in light. Loosed is her Rudder and is set beneath the hind feet of the Dog, as he runs in front.
    [352] Andromeda, though she cowers a good way off, is pressed by the rush of the mighty Monster of the Sea [Cetus]. For her path lies under the blast of Thracian Boreas, but the South wind drives against her, beneath the Ram and the Pair of Fishes, the hateful Monster, Cetus, set as he is a little above the Starry River.

    This ‘Monster’ of the Sea or Cetus, is the exact same (and very rare) Greek word used by Jesus in the verse below for ‘whale’.

    Matthew 12:40
    For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

    Bill Maher the movie called, Religulous made such a big deal about Jonah and the whale.

    Every Rabbi is familiar with the 19 year Metonic cycle. What may not be realized is that the moon drops out of the ecliptic path and enters the constellation Cetus every 19 years. In February of that 19th year the moon enters Cetus at its tail, and as an invisible new moon. The moon travels through Cetus invisible for three days. On the fourth day, the crescent moon appears as if vomited out of the mouth of Cetus.

    Jonah in the belly of the whale is a way of marking time. In the book of Jonah it marks the fall of Nineveh. It’s used in Matthew’s gospel to mark a date as well.

    The Church supresses science (and truth for that matter).

    your welcome ;-)

  14. It’s an interesting discussion, but I see no sources for this information about the moon travelling through Cetus anywhere. Nor do I see any indication, even if what you claim about the moon and Cetus to be true, that this bears any relation to Jonah and Jesus. Just because a superficial similarity exists between one historical event and another does not mean that they are related, much less that one is based on the other.

    The same two points are also true of the lampstands. Even if the eclipses are related to the book of Revelation, I’ve not found a single mentioning of a scholar who dates it past the end of the first century. Even Wikipedia, the bastion of late dates for biblical texts, does not suggest that it was written after the first century A.D. Are you suggesting, then, that Revelation included a prediction of that eclipse? It certainly wasn’t based on it.

    • Welcome to Rose’s world. It’s very different to ours.

  15. Jeremy> It’s an interesting discussion, but I see no sources for this information about the moon travelling through Cetus anywhere.

    Rose> That like saying I can’t find it published anywhere that 6585896 * 450450 = 2966616853200

    Yet anyone can confirm this independently. It’s the same for the Moon dropping out of its orbit and moving through Cetus every 19 years. Anyone can confirm this with software like Starry Night or Freeware like Stellarium. You will see that in February of that year the new moon enters the tail of Cetus, is invisible for three days and then the first crescent appears at the mouth of Cetus.

    You are correct in that this could just be a coincidence. However the Greek word in this passage below is a rare word. It was only used to refer to the constellation Cetus in Greek literature before the time of Jesus. Therefore the text literally says Jonah was in the belly of Cetus for three days.

    You can’t find any serious scholar would deny that the Greek word kētos referred to the constellation Cetus in the time of and before Jesus. It’s as explicit in Greek as if Jesus said Jonah was three days in the belly of Sagittarius.

    Matthew 12:40
    For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

    Jeremy> Nor do I see any indication, even if what you claim about the moon and Cetus to be true, that this bears any relation to Jonah and Jesus. Just because a superficial similarity exists between one historical event and another does not mean that they are related, much less that one is based on the other.

    Rose> The 19 year Metonic cycle was a key calendar system used in Canaan since the 4th century BCE. Here again Jesus specifically mentions something in the belly of the constellation Cetus, and we know from any astronomical program that the moon is in the belly of Cetus (invisible as a new moon) for three days and is ‘vomited’ out its mouth on the third day.

    I’m open to any realistic interpretation. In context the Pharisees are asking Jesus for a sign. Jesus replies there will be no sign except the sign of Jonah. How is this not an astronomical sign considering Jesus explicitly refers to Cetus?

    What evidence would prove this interpretation wrong? What do the scholars agree that this was about?

  16. Jeremy> The same two points are also true of the lampstands. Even if the eclipses are related to the book of Revelation, I’ve not found a single mentioning of a scholar who dates it past the end of the first century. Even Wikipedia, the bastion of late dates for biblical texts, does not suggest that it was written after the first century A.D. Are you suggesting, then, that Revelation included a prediction of that eclipse? It certainly wasn’t based on it.

    Rose> No scholar can date the book of Revelation, it’s pure speculation. Even Irenaeus says it was written close to his time. The first mention of the book of Revelation in history was by Irenaeus in about 190 CE or so. There are no fragments of it that exist before that (unlike other books of the New Testament).

    Scholarly opinions are just that, opinions. They must be based on something. I was referring to the seven candlesticks in Revelation 1:13 (seven stars in Revelation 1:16). Coincidentally there was a solar eclipse over Patmos April 30, 59 CE and it happened beside the Pleiades (seven stars) and they were on the right hand side.

    We can blow all this off to coincidence, but I’m just asking for a better explanation. So far the only thing I hear is ‘most scholars . . . . ‘ Yet nobody (scholar or not) has any fact or evidence to indicate the eclipse theory is wrong. Opinion only.

    Still there’s more. In Revelation 12 we have the Virgin and the multi-headed beast right beside her. Coincidentally there was a solar eclipse over Patmos about 20 years before the book of Revelation was first mentioned in history. September 4, 164 CE. This eclipse happens right in the shoulder of Virgo (the Virgin), and of course Hydra the multi-headed beast who does stretch a third of the Universe was right beside her.

    Revelation 12
    1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:

    Virgo is in heaven and she does wear a crown of twelve stars.

    3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
    4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

    Hydra is right beside Virgo and his tail does stretch a third part of the stars of heaven and he does have many heads.

    The final compellation of the book of Revelation was after 164 CE.

    The challenge to all scholars would be to find any physical evidence of its existence before the eclipse of 164 CE.

    In fact if anyone can produce any physical evidence of the existence of the book of Revelation prior to 164 CE, I’ll donate $1,000.00 to the charity or church of their choice. I’m good for it, I’ve lost these challenges in the past and paid up.


  17. owned

  18. The constant claims that ‘the Church is afraid of Science’ amuse me.

    Why would the Church sponsor the predecessors of the ‘university’ system that is currently the model for higher education? Why would scholasticism spread so far as a method of learning and inquiry? It was believed that God made an orderly, natural world; so it was apparent that the rules and laws that governed it could be rationally deduced and observed. Jean Buridan and Nicole Oresme – a cleric and bishop respectively during the middle ages – bemoaned the tendency of the common folk to invoke ‘miracles’ for various phenomena instead of searching for their natural causes.

    With the fall of the Roman Empire, much of Europe was cut off from Greek and Arab texts, not to be obtained until communication was more reliably established with the Byzantine and Islamic realms, and even then, the vaunted ‘renaissance of the 12th century’ came to an end due to the Plague’s ravaging of Europe. Despite these setbacks, the spirit of rational inquiry was not subdued or inhibited, but encouraged in those days. Consider Pope Sylvester II:

    The Church was a much greater political creature in those days, involved with the power games between kingdoms and states to a degree unknown to modern audiences. As has been repeatedly documented, the Church was not opposed to ‘science’ in and of itself for religious reasons; politics was the driving cause when conflict arose (see the different reactions to Galileo by two different popes: Paul V and Urban VIII).

    But to just say that ‘the Church hates/fears science’ is incorrect. It’s akin to saying that faith and reason are incompatible. My hypothesis is that it mostly stems from outdated Enlightenment scholarship that denigrated the time between the fall of Rome and the Renaissance as ‘the dark ages’, when they were no such thing.





  19. THERE is a certain analogy between civilization and an infectious disease. Both pass from one community to another by contact, and whenever either breaks out, one of our first thoughts is, Where did the infection come from? In both alike there is the unanswered question, Where did it first originate? Do all outbreaks trace back to one primary source, or have there been several independent starting points?

    In reading the autobiography of that distinguished Orientalist Sir Denison Ross, there is a letter received from some inquirer which contains the sentence remarking what a good thing it would be if we could find out “how, and in what form, the Greek and Latin writers found their way to the ken of the Arab or Persian or Turkish student” (Sir Denison Ross, Both Ends of the Candle, n.d., p. 286). The author of the book makes no comment on this letter, but it may be noted that the way in which Greek literature passed to the Arabs and Persians, thence to the Turks, is not so unexplored as the letter suggests, and it may be traced with tolerable certainty, as it is hoped will appear in the following pages. No doubt it is a commonplace English convention which causes the writer to group Greek and Latin writers together: it does not appear that Latin writers ever did pass to the Arabs or other Orientals, the transmission of ancient culture was concerned with Greek alone, and the Greek writers who influenced the oriental world were not the poets, historians, or orators, but exclusively the scientists who wrote on medicine, astronomy, mathematics, and philosophy, the type of scientific thought which does not always come foremost when we speak about classical literature. In the days when the Arabs inherited the culture of ancient Greece, Greek thought was chiefly interested in science, Athens was replaced by Alexandria, and Hellenism had an entirely “modem “outlook. This was an attitude with which Alexandria and its scholars were directly connected, but it was by no means confined to Alexandria. It was a logical outcome of the influence of Aristotle who before all else was a patient observer of nature, and was in fact the founder of modern science. It had its germs in older thought, no doubt, in the speculations of quite early philosophers about the origin and world and its inhabitants, animals as well as men, but it was Aristotle who introduced what may be called the scientific method.

    In entering upon this inquiry it may be premised that there are at least three threads very closely interwoven. In the first place there are Greek scientific writers whose books were translated into Arabic, studied by Arab scholars, and made the subject of commentaries and summaries: in such cases the line of transmission is clear. Then there are conclusions and scientific principles assumed and developed by Arabic writers who do not say whence they were derived, but which can only be explained by reference to a Greek (Alexandrian) source. Yet again, there are questions and problems raised which the Arabs dealt with in their own way, but which never would have occurred to them unless they had been suggested by earlier Greek thinkers who had tried to solve similar difficulties, but approached their solution in a different way.

    Greek scientific thought had been in the world for a long time before it reached the Arabs, and during that period it had already spread abroad in various directions. So it is not surprising that it reached the Arabs by more than one route. It came first and in the plainest line through Christian Syriac writers, scholars, and scientists. Then the Arabs applied themselves directly to the original Greek sources and learned over again all they had already learned, correcting and verifying their earlier knowledge. Then there came a second channel of transmission indirectly through India, mathematical and astronomical work, all a good deal developed by Indian scholars, but certainly developed from material obtained from Alexandria in the first place. This material had passed to India by the sea route which connected Alexandria with north-west India. Then there was also another line of passage through India which seems to have had its beginning in the Greek kingdom of Bactria, one of the Asiatic states founded by Alexander the Great, and a land route long kept open between the Greek world and Central Asia, especially with the city of Marw, and this perhaps connects with a Buddhist medium which at one time promoted intercourse between east and west, though Buddhism as a religion was withdrawing to the Far East when the Arabs reached Central Asia. Further, there were some scattered minor sources, unfortunately little known, such as the city of Harran, an obstinately pagan Greek colony planted in the middle of a Christian area, which probably made its contribution, though on a smaller scale.

    The term “Arabs”must be taken in a broad sense. It is not here used strictly to denote those of Arab blood, but includes all those who were politically under Arab rule, who used the Arabic language and followed the religion of the Arabs. Some, like the Persians under the early ‘Abbasids in the eighth century, were very definitely anti-Arab, but they lived under Arab rule, wrote in Arabic, and at least professed to follow the religion of Muhammad. Such being the case, they and their Arab rulers shared a common life which coloured their literature, education, and interests generally; even though Persian literature and religion diverged in its own direction, it moved from an Arabic starting-point. Neither culture nor language run on lines precisely identical with race. Conquest, superior civilization, economic needs have often caused communities to adopt new languages and new cultures. Yet there was sufficient coherence in the community gathered under the rule of the KhaHf to justify its being treated as a unit, even though not all its members recognized the same khalifi The ‘Umayyads in Andalus took their cue from the rinces ruling in Baghdad. The schismatic Shi’ites agreed with the orthodox Sunnis that their leader on earth should be the heir of the Prophet Muhammad, though they differed as to the individual who was the lawful heir. The no less heretical Kharijites had a khaff of their owm, freely elected on a democratic basis, but so elected because it was believed that this best followed Muhanunad’s precedent.

  20. Include references please

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