Nicolaus Copernicus Criticism - Essay

Robert Small (essay date 1804)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "Of the Copernican System" in An Account of the Astronomical Discoveries of Kepler, The University of Wisconsin Press, 1963, pp. 81-92.

[In the following excerpt from an essay originally written in 1804, Small discusses how Copernicus came to his conclusions regarding heliocentrism and the diurnal rotation of the earth.]

Though the imperfections of the Ptolemaic system were not immediately perceived, especially during the confusion which attended the decline and destruction of the Roman empire, their effects did not fail, in process of time, to become fully evident. In the ninth century, on the revival of science in the east, under the encouragement of the...

(The entire section is 3298 words.)

Marian Biskup and Jerzy Dobrzycki (essay date 1972)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "Copernicus the Economist" and "De Revolutionibus" in Copernicus: Scholar and Citizen, Interpress Publishers, 1972, pp. 83-115.

[In the essays below, Biskup and Dobrzycki discuss first Copernicus's work as an economic advisor to the Prussian Estates and then the development of the ideas and text of his De Revolutionibus.]

Copernicus the Economist

Copernicus was for many years in Warmia engrossed in economic matters and monetary questions. He introduced many new and stimulating ideas into economics, some of them much ahead of his time, and hence did not always meet with understanding. But it is worth looking closer at his...

(The entire section is 7436 words.)

Owen Gingerich (essay date 1973)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "From Copernicus to Kepler: Heliocentrism as Model and as Reality" in Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 117, No. 6, December, 1973, pp. 513–22.

[In the following essay, Gingerich discusses controversies in the early publishing history of De revolutionibus.]

Near the close of Book One of the autograph manuscript of his great work, Copernicus writes:

And if we should admit that the course of the sun and moon could be demonstrated even if the earth is fixed, then with respect to the other wandering bodies there is less agreement. It is credible that, for these and similar causes (and not because of the...

(The entire section is 5470 words.)

Owen Gingerich (essay date 1975)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "'Crisis' versus Aesthetic in the Copernican Revolution" in Yesterday and Today: Proceedings of the Commemorative Conference Held in Washington in Honour of Nicolaus Copernicus, Vistas in Astronomy, Vol. 17, 1975, pp. 85-93.

[In the following essay, Gingerich argues against the notion that there was an astronomical crisis in astronomy before Copernicus published his theories.]

In a chapter in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions entitled "Crisis and the Emergence of Scientific Theories", Thomas Kuhn states: "If awareness of anomaly plays a role in the emergence of phenomena, it should surprise no one that a similar but more profound awareness is prerequisite...

(The entire section is 4007 words.)

John Norris (essay date 1981)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "Copernicus: Science versus Theology" in The Tradition of Polish Ideals: Essays in History and Literature, Orbis Books (London) Ltd., 1981, pp. 132-49.

[In the following essay, Norris discusses the reception of Copernicus's astronomical findings by the Catholic and Protestant churches during the sixteenth centuryry],

This paper is about a Polish citizen and about a revolution which he made. Unlike most Poles, he didn't know he was going to make a revolution, and he probably didn't intend it. He wrote a great and abstruse work, De Revolutionibus orbium coelestium, which hardly any of his contemporaries could read, let alone understand. It was...

(The entire section is 5792 words.)

Edward Rosen (essay date 1983)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "The Exposure of the Fraudulent Address to the Reader in Copernicus' Revolutions" in Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. XIV, No. 3, Fall, 1983, pp. 283-91.

[In the following article, Rosen discusses the reasons for and outcome of Andreas Osiander'inserting an anonymous preface into the first publication of Copernicus's De revolutionibus.],

In opposition to the immemorial belief that the earth is stationary, Nicholas Copernicus' De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (Nuremborg, 1543)1 proclaimed that the earth is a planet in motion. On its title page this epoch-making work announced the names of its author and publisher. But it gave no hint...

(The entire section is 3838 words.)

Harold P. Nebelsick (essay date 1985)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "Copernican Cosmology" in Circles of God: Theology and Science from the Greeks to Copernicus, Scottish Academic Press, 1985, pp. 200-57.

[In the following chapter, Nebelsick discusses in detail Copernicus's contributions to astronomical research, including his theory of heliocentrism and his revision of the work of Ptolemy and other ancient astronomers.]

The Development of "Heliocentricity"

When and where Copernicus first began to think seriously about his "heliocentric" system is as difficult to ascertain as are his motives for developing it."57 By the end of the fifteenth century Cracow had gained a reputation as a good...

(The entire section is 15397 words.)

Bernard Vinaty (essay date 1987)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "Galileo and Copernicus" in Galileo Galilei: Toward a Resolution of 350 Years of Debate—1633-1983, Duquesne University Press, 1987, pp. 3-43.

[In the following article, Vinaty discusses the relevance of Copernicus's research to the development of Galilean cosmology.]

In the course of the second day of the "Dialogue Concerning the Two Principal World Systems, the Ptolemaic and Copernican," Gianfrancesco Sagredo, Venetian patrician and one of the three persons taking part in the dialogue, recounts:

Certain events had but recently befallen me, when I began to hear this new opinion [Copernican] talked about. Being still very...

(The entire section is 18713 words.)

Hans Blumenberg (essay date 1987)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "The Theoretician as 'Perpetrator'" in The Genesis of the Copernican World, The MIT Press, 1987, pp. 264-89.

[In the following essay, Blumenberg discusses the metaphors of revolution and violence that have characterized assessments of Copernican cosmology through the years.]

On the base of the Copernicus monument in Torun stands this inscription: Terrae Motor Solis Caelique Stator [Mover of the Earth and Stayer of the Sun and the Heavens]. The kings of Prussia had owed the monument to Copernicus for a long time. On 12 August 1773—that is, in the year of the astronomer's 300th birthday—Frederick the Great had made this promise in a letter to Voltaire....

(The entire section is 12682 words.)

Ann Blair (essay date 1990)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "Tycho Brahe's Critique of Copernicus and the Copernican System" in Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. LI, No. 3, July-Sept., 1990, pp. 355-77.

[Below, Blair discusses astronomer Tycho Brahe 's ambivalence toward Copernican cosmology. Brahe admired Copernicus's desire for mathematical simplicity in his calculations of the motions of the heavenly bodies, but he could not accept Copernicus's theory of heliocentrism.]

For Luther he was the "fool who wanted to turn the art of astronomy on its head"1; for François Viète he was the paraphraser of Ptolemy and "more a master of the dice than of the (mathematical) profession"2; for nearly...

(The entire section is 10534 words.)

Irving A. Kelter (essay date 1995)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "The Refusal to Accommodate: Jesuit Exegetes and the Copernican System" in Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. XXVI, No. 2, 1995, pp. 273-83.

[In the following essay, Kelter traces the early response of the Catholic exegetical community to Copernican theory.]

On March 5, 1616, the Roman Catholic Church's Sacred Congregation of the Index issued a decree concerning the new Copernican cosmology and current works defending it. The edict prohibited, until corrected, both Nicholas Copernicus' classic work, the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres (1543), and the commentary on Job (1584) by the Spanish theologian Didacus à Stunica (Diego de Zúñiga). The Carmelite...

(The entire section is 5949 words.)