Histographical Essay

Historians have begun to realize that the focus on Aristotelian philosophy could still be useful, and contributions to the study of science, even in astronomy and physics, could be made without adopting Copernican astronomy.They have begun to understand that progress in unraveling the secrets of the natural world resulted not just from the work of a few giants but also from lesser individuals and from groups.Several books have presented an overview of Jesuits and science. Agustín Udías wrote a survey of Jesuit contributions to science both before and after the suppression.Mordechai Feingold edited such a volume, and in his introduction he described the Jesuits as “savants” who “were quite open and adventurous in their discussions despite the suspicions that such exchanges, especially with ‘heretics’ could elicit.” He pointed out that Jesuit educators discussed much contemporary work that was at odds with their official position, such as Copernican astronomy, adding that “not a few Jesuits incorporated” the very controversial subject of atomism “into their lectures.” Feingold’s collection had essays on a wide-ranging number of topics: several on better known Jesuit scholars (Ugo Baldini on Christoph Clavius, Alfredo Dinis on Giambattista Riccioli, Paula Findlen on Athanasius Kircher); several on scientific controversies (Edward Grant on cosmology, William A. His chapters on pre-suppression work start with the establishment of mathematics in the Jesuit curriculum and end with the open acceptance of the Copernican system in the middle of the eighteenth century with attention to both Jesuits in Europe and the wider world.

As most of the intellectuals of the Middle Ages were Catholic clergy or educated by them, this also showed that the Catholic Church was not inherently against progress in science.

Schott used the pump to experiment with atmospheric air and ignored the issue of the vacuum.

This is another instance of Jesuits contributing to the advancement of science within their Aristotelian context.

In this period subjects that are anathema to today’s scientific community—magic, astrology, alchemy—were studied and accepted as valid scientific pursuits.

They included other subjects, like cartography and chronology, in their study of nature.

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