Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Not updating this as often as I thought I might. I have been translating some Latin sources on medieval academics who got into trouble with the church. There are not very many at all but one, Cecco d'Ascoli, got burnt at the stake for relapsing into heresy after he had already got into trouble before. He was a professor of astrology at Bologna university but his heresy is not quite clear. A later inquisitor says he was claiming that Jesus's life was determined by the stars he was born under - that is that God himself had no freedom from the influence of the stars. Certainly, Cecco was no scientist and no martyr for reason, despite what some anti-Christian polemicists have claimed. And he appears to have been the only natural philosopher to be burnt by the Church in the Middle Ages and it is clear that the dispute was about theology not science.

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