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Reading Galileo

Scribal Technologies and the Two New Sciences

Renée Raphael

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How did early modern scientists interpret Galileo’s influential Two New Sciences?

In 1638, Galileo was over seventy years old, blind, and confined to house arrest outside of Florence. With the help of friends and family, he managed to complete and smuggle to the Netherlands a manuscript that became his final published work, Two New Sciences. Treating diverse subjects that became the foundations of mechanical engineering and physics, this book is often depicted as the definitive expression of Galileo’s purportedly modern scientific agenda. In Reading Galileo, Renée Raphael offers a new…

How did early modern scientists interpret Galileo’s influential Two New Sciences?

In 1638, Galileo was over seventy years old, blind, and confined to house arrest outside of Florence. With the help of friends and family, he managed to complete and smuggle to the Netherlands a manuscript that became his final published work, Two New Sciences. Treating diverse subjects that became the foundations of mechanical engineering and physics, this book is often depicted as the definitive expression of Galileo’s purportedly modern scientific agenda. In Reading Galileo, Renée Raphael offers a new interpretation of Two New Sciences which argues instead that the work embodied no such coherent canonical vision. Raphael alleges that it was written—and originally read—as the eclectic product of the types of discursive textual analysis and meandering descriptive practices Galileo professed to reject in favor of more qualitative scholarship.

Focusing on annotations period readers left in the margins of extant copies and on the notes and teaching materials of seventeenth-century university professors whose lessons were influenced by Galileo’s text, Raphael explores the ways in which a range of early-modern readers, from ordinary natural philosophers to well-known savants, responded to Galileo. She highlights the contrast between the practices of Galileo’s actual readers, who followed more traditional, "bookish" scholarly methods, and their image, constructed by Galileo and later historians, as "modern" mathematical experimenters.

Two New Sciences has not previously been the subject of such rigorous attention and analysis. Reading Galileo considerably changes our understanding of Galileo’s important work while offering a well-executed case study in the reception of an early-modern scientific classic. This important text will be of interest to a wide range of historians—of science, of scholarly practices and the book, and of early-modern intellectual and cultural history.

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Reading Galileo

Renée Raphael

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Reviews

Reviews

This work provides an interesting historical examination of Galileo’s original text. Recommended

Raphael’s book is an uncommon and very welcome contribution to the ever-growing Galileo scholarship.

Renée Raphael's Reading Galileo: Scribal Technologies and the "Two New Sciences" gives a telling account of the reception of a seminal work of the Scientific Revolution, which has wider implications for the history of reading and of the nature of intellectual traditions at the time more generally.

An innovative, valuable, and brilliantly researched study of the initial reception and multiple uses of one of the most important books in the history of science. Using a sophisticated and well-chosen methodology, Raphael convincingly establishes the relationship between individual actors' reading techniques and their intellectual ecosystems

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
280
ISBN
9781421421773
Illustration Description
28 halftones, 2 line drawings
Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Chapter 1 An anonymous annotator, Baliani, and the "ideal" reader
Chapter 2 Editing, Commenting, and Learning Math from Galileo
Chapter 3 Modifying authoritative reading to

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Chapter 1 An anonymous annotator, Baliani, and the "ideal" reader
Chapter 2 Editing, Commenting, and Learning Math from Galileo
Chapter 3 Modifying authoritative reading to new purposes
Chapter 4 An annotated book of many uses
Chapter 5 The University of Pisa and a Dialogue between Old and New
Chapter 6 Jesuit bookish practices applied to the Two New Sciences
Epilogue

Notes
Bibliography
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Renée Raphael

Renée Raphael is an assistant professor of history at the University of California, Irvine.