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Publication - Dr Geoffrey Blumenthal

    Copernicus's publication strategy in the contexts of Imperial and Papal censorship and of Warmian diplomatic precedents

    Citation

    Blumenthal, GJ, 2016, ‘Copernicus's publication strategy in the contexts of Imperial and Papal censorship and of Warmian diplomatic precedents’. Science in Context, vol 29., pp. 151-178

    Abstract

    The main thesis of this paper is that Copernicus’s avoidance of all admission that scripture was contravened in De revolutionibus and his composition of its new Preface in 1542, as well as the non-publication of Rheticus’s Treatise on Holy Scripture and the Motion of the Earth, were influenced by the early information they received on the failure of the 1541 Regensburg Protestant-Catholic colloquy, among the major consequences of which were significant increases in the problems concerning publishing works which contravened scripture. This is supported by examining Rheticus’s first letter to Paul Eber in conjunction with the documents on the Regensburg colloquy and on censorship in Nuremberg, as well as with the existing literature on Copernicus and his context. In view of the main thesis, Copernicus’s dedication of the work to the Pope merits additional explanation, and the second thesis is that components of explanations for several aspects of those parts of the Preface that relate to the Papacy and to theologians can be provided via comparisons with previous diplomacy between Warmia and the Papacy which occurred or was being referred to during Copernicus’s time. This is supported by examining these parts of the Preface in the light of a selection of the relevant documents.

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