The Pope and the Heretic by P-HarpercollinsPubl

VIEWS: 6 PAGES: 5

Giordano Bruno challenged everything in his pursuit of an all-embracing system of thought. This not only brought him patronage from powerful figures of the day but also put him in direct conflict with the Catholic Church. Arrested by the Inquisition and tried as a heretic, Bruno was imprisoned, tortured, and, after eight years, burned at the stake in 1600. The Vatican "regrets" the burning yet refuses to clear him of heresy.But Bruno's philosophy spread: Galileo, Isaac Newton, Christiaan Huygens, and Gottfried Leibniz all built upon his ideas; his thought experiments predate the work of such twentieth-century luminaries as Karl Popper; his religious thinking inspired such radicals as Baruch Spinoza; and his work on the art of memory had a profound effect on William Shakespeare.Chronicling a genius whose musings helped bring about the modern world, Michael White pieces together the final years -- the capture, trial, and the threat the Catholic Church felt -- that made Bruno a martyr of free thought.

More Info
									The Pope and the Heretic
Author: Michael White
Description

Giordano Bruno challenged everything in his pursuit of an all-embracing system of thought. This not only
brought him patronage from powerful figures of the day but also put him in direct conflict with the Catholic
Church. Arrested by the Inquisition and tried as a heretic, Bruno was imprisoned, tortured, and, after eight
years, burned at the stake in 1600. The Vatican "regrets" the burning yet refuses to clear him of
heresy.But Bruno's philosophy spread: Galileo, Isaac Newton, Christiaan Huygens, and Gottfried Leibniz
all built upon his ideas; his thought experiments predate the work of such twentieth-century luminaries as
Karl Popper; his religious thinking inspired such radicals as Baruch Spinoza; and his work on the art of
memory had a profound effect on William Shakespeare.Chronicling a genius whose musings helped bring
about the modern world, Michael White pieces together the final years -- the capture, trial, and the threat
the Catholic Church felt -- that made Bruno a martyr of free thought.
Excerpt

For large wood: 55 sols 6 deniers
For vine-branches: 21 sols 3 deniers
For straw: 2 sols 6 deniers
For four stakes: 10 sols 9 deniers
For ropes to tie the convicts: 45 sols 7 deniers
For the executioners, each 20 sols: 80 sols.
-- Inquisition accounts for an executionThe grand inquisitor, the Lord Cardinal Santoro di Santa Severina,
was not happy. It was freezing cold in the Congregation Chamber of the Vatican, and he remembered
fondly the attentions of his lover earlier that morning. His hair disheveled, his limbs aching, he had been
called from those attentions and reminded (with suitable reverence) that he must wash and dress and
follow his servants to the Hall of the Congregation and the trial of the reviled heretic Giordano Bruno. And
now Father Bruno, a small man with black hair and dark brown eyes, stood before him, wafer-thin,
scarred and drained, his face and body bearing the marks of the Inquisition. The date was February 8,
1600, and Giordano Bruno had less than eleven days to live. The hall was vast and ornate. The eight
cardinals and the seven coadjutors and notaries sat on comfortable high-backed chairs forming an arc
around the accused, their official robes of satin falling gently over their velvet seats. The Lord Cardinal
Severina was seated in a giant throne at the apex of the arc, his hands placed on the ornate wooden
arms, his long bony fingers twitching with impatience, his cardinal ring bobbing and catching the light
streaming in from long windows that dominated an entire wall of the chamber behind him. Of the cardinals
at this meeting, only two were truly important. First there was Cardinal Severina himself. Pope Clement
VIII's right-hand man had never recovered from his failure to secure the papacy for himself immediately
before Bruno's first imprisonment in Venice eight years earlier. Arrogant and egotistical, Severina had
been so confident of his destiny he had already selected his official name; ironically he had planned to
use Clement. And now he loathed the real Clement more than he could have imagined. He knew the pope
was inclined to be lenient with Bruno; it seemed the fool had some inexplicable soft spot for him, and so
Severina would do everything he could to oppose Clement and to hurt Bruno. The other cardinal to be
feared was Robert Bellarmine, a man who would have liked to see not just heretics but all Protestants
and dissenters burned, all traces of anti-Catholic feeling expunged. Bellarmine had been a professor of
theology at the Collegium Romanum and had been given the honor of becoming personal theologian to
the pope, the Holy See's adviser on all matters of doctrine, keeper of the Word. For all his academic
brilliance, Robert Bellarmine's worldview was strictly antiscience. Fifteen years after Bruno was in his
grave, the reverend cardinal would instigate the arrest and trial of Galileo. As reward, the Church would
canonize Bellarmine in 1930. Bruno stood in silence before the fifteen men. Severina read the charges, a
total of eight counts of heresy. These included his belief that the transubstantiation of bread into flesh and
wine into blood was a falsehood, that the virgin birth was impossible, and, perhaps most terrible of all,
that we live in an infinite universe and that innumerable worlds exist upon which creatures like ourselves
might thrive and worship their own gods. Against these charges, Bruno refused to comment. He would,
he said, address himself only to His Holiness personally. The Congregation had a written statement from
Bruno to Clement which Bellarmine had opened but had...
Author Bio
Michael White
Michael White is a former science editor of British GQ, as well as previous Director of Scientific Studies
at d'Overbroeck's college, Oxford. In addition to being the author of hundreds of articles covering the
cutting edge of science, he is a musician and formerly a member of the successful ’80s band the
Thompson Twins. He is a consultant for the Discovery Channel series The Science of the Impossible and
is the author of twenty books, including internationally bestselling biographies of Stephen Hawking (with
John Gribbin), Isaac Newton, and Leonardo da Vinci. He and his wife and children recently emigrated
from London to Perth, Australia.

								
To top