Twenty years before his famous trial, Galileo Galilei had spent two years carefully considering how the results of his own telescopic observations of the heavens as well as his convictions about the truth of the Copernican theory could be aligned with the Catholic Church's position on biblical interpretation and the authority of the magisterium. The product of these two years was an unpublished letter to the Grand Duchess Christina of Tuscany, the mother of his patron, Cosimo II de' Medici.
Much has changed since this letter was written in 1615, but much has remained the same. This collection of articles by renowned international scholars provides the historical context of the letter as well as a description of the scientific world of Galileo. It also explores those issues that make this 1615 letter a document for our time: the public role of religious authority, the truth of the Bible, and the relationship of scientific inquiry to social justice. Galileo's letter to Christina has become a classic text in the history of the relationship between science and religion in the West for good reason; this volume explores why the letter has earned its rightful place as a classic even for today.