RICHARD J. BLACKWELL is professor emeritus of philosophy, Saint Louis University. He is the author of numerous books, including Galileo, Bellarmine, and the Bible (University of Notre Dame Press, 1991).
There are many reasons why this 'Galileo affair' is uniquely important in modern history. One is that it is instructive for understanding the interaction between science and religion. Blackwell adds some nuances to the conflictualist thesis. . . . The main theme of Blackwell's book is that of exploring 'behind the scenes at Galileo's trial.'. . . This trial is one of the best-documented episodes emblematic of modernity . . . this book makes a valuable contribution and provides a model for this type of inquiry. --Journal of Modern History Richard Blackwell . . . is a distinguished scholar whose work has often focused on the theological and biblical issues raised by Galileo's discoveries and writings. His translation of Inchofer's treatise is a very important contribution by itself, but he also provides translations for four short texts that shed further light on the trial. . . . The remainder of the book reviews the legal and scriptural case against Galileo, describes the activities and ideas of Inchofer and Scheiner, and closes with Blackwell's own thoughts about science and religion. --Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith Though the conduct of Galileo's trial was probably less sinister than Blackwell has suggested, with these two defenses of the Church's condemnation of Copernicanism we have a new, intriguing glimpse behind the scenes. --The Renaissance Quarterly Richard Blackwell's latest foray into scholarship on the Galileo affair contains detective history, careful scholarship, theological ruminations, and excellent translation work. The most tantalizing piece is chapter 1, titled 'The Legal Case at Galileo's Trial: Impasse and Perfidy, which pushes a thesis that involves plea bargains, mysterious saboteur(s), and a miscarriage of justice. --The Sixteenth Century Journal Richard Blackwell offers yet another important volume for our understanding of the context and thought around the trial of Galileo and more broadly the interaction of theology and science in the early modern era. Blackwell's scholarship is well known to Galileo scholars. . . . This latest volume makes Melchior Inchofer's Tractatus syllepticus (1633) available in English for the first time, affording those lacking Latin better insights into the mind of the advisor to the Holy Office of the (Roman) Inquisition who gave the most detailed analysis of Galileo's Dialogue. Blackwell's five introductory chapters set Inchofer and other dramatis personae in Galileo's life in the context of the history of theology as well as of science. Blackwell especially considers the biblical hermeneutics that prompted figures like Inchofer to conclude that the Bible in fact taught the immobility of the Earth. --Journal for the History of Astronomy