This unique reader allows students to examine Galileo’s trial as a legal event and, in so doing, to learn about seventeenth-century European religion, politics, diplomacy, bureaucracy, culture, and science. Noted scholar of the trial Thomas F. Mayer has translated correspondence, legal documents, transcripts, and excerpts from Galileo’s work to give students the opportunity to critically analyze primary sources relating to Galileo’s trial.
To help contextualize the trial, Mayer provides an introduction that details Galileo’s life and work, the Council of Trent, the role of the papacy, and the Roman Inquisition, and gives a clear explanation of how a trial before the Inquisition would have been conducted. Each primary source begins with a headnote, questions to guide students through each source, and suggested readings. The book includes a comprehensive cast of characters, a map of Galileo’s Rome, a chronology of Galileo’s life, and a list of secondary readings.