on 8 June 2012
This book presents the documents that one must read to understand the trial of Galileo and its causes from the words of the people involved and without the bias of individual modern interpretations.
In its introduction, Finocchiaro presents a very good description of the philosophical, scientific, epistemological, social, historical and religious factors that shaped the Galileo affair with the Catholic Church. Keeping away from both extreme ideologies, one judging the Church as a dogmatic ignorant authority and the other presenting Galileo as justly condemned by the Church, Finocchiaro tries (and managed) to put arguments from both sides in balance. Galileo laid the foundations of a new science, contrary to Aristotelian Physics, and, obviously, faced opposition from academics and clergymen of his time, which on the other hand had very strong scientific evidence to stick to the traditional views, but wrongly chose to criticize Galileo's views in the religious sphere and based on misinterpretations of Bible's statements.
Apart from the brilliant introduction, the abundance of footnotes added in every translated document are of great help so as not to get lost with the amount of names and information.