It is a fact that the coming of the Renaissance Age is accredited to many movers and shakers and certain events which may be considered as the milestones to the coming of this same age. It is a fact beyond dispute that Galileo Galilei (February 15th, 1564- January 8th, 1642) made contributions to the emergence of the Age of Renaissance which would emerge a century later, particularly in Britain. As an Italian mathematician, physicist, astronomer and philosopher, Galileo played a critical role in the materialization of the Scientific Revolution. Reputed for being responsible for the birth of modern science, Galileo is not only known for his improvements on the telescope but also as the father of modern physics, modern observational astronomy and modern science. The commonest fact concerning Galileo is that he reiterated Copernicanism; by being emphatic that the earth rotates around the sun and that the sun is the center of the universe. To this effect, having been subjected to Roman inquisition, he was found guilty of heresy and condemned to spend his entire life under house arrest.
The Position of the Sixteenth-Century Church Regarding Science
At the time, the position of the sixteenth-century Church was that Galileo was wrong and guilty of contradicting the Biblical Scripture which to them was emphatic that the earth was immobile and that it was the sun that travelled around the earth. Given that the Church was party to political power and inseparable from the state, it is against this backdrop that Galileo would be subjected to inquisition and subsequently, to house arrest, for heresy.
Why the Church So Threatened By Galileo’s Discoveries and Writings
The main reason as to why the Church felt threatened by the discoveries of Galileo is that the Church felt that the authority of the Biblical Scriptures would be denudated following the discovery. Scriptural references such as I Chronicles 16: 30 psalm 93:1, 96:10, 104: 5 and Ecclesiastes 1:5 to them, seemed to indicate that the earth was immobile, immutable and the center of the universe. A critical observer must nevertheless take into consideration that what the clergy feared was being assigned into irrelevance by the society, as this would make the clergy lose its social standing, opulent class, and economic might. The discovery would render the Bible which is the foundation of the Christian faith. The Christian faith would seem as not having been based on facts, but merely on myths and fallacies. This would definitely make the Church lose hold on the laity and the society as a whole, while relegating the clergy to utter irrelevance. This was the crux of the matter.
The Manner in Which Galileo Approached His Defense in the “Letter to the Grand Duchess”