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Galileo Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 35 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Galileo.
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Themes

Science Versus Religion

The conflict between science (which is aligned with truth and knowledge) and religion (which is aligned with ignorance and power mongering) is the most obvious conflict in Galileo. Galileo's research into the stars is so dangerous because of its potential to upset the existing religious hierarchy. In the Middle Ages and later, there developed a notion called the Great Chain of Being. This long-standing religious belief established a rigid hierarchy, with God at the top, the Pope beneath him, the Cardinals beneath the Pope, et cetera, down to the serf or peasant at the bottom. Because this chain was supposed to be divinely ordered, it was nearly impossible to question. It became part of the Church's rationale for its permanent power over the rest of society.

Galileo's heliocentric evidence threatened this theory of the Great Chain of Being. Suddenly, the earth and its people are not...

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This section contains 817 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Galileo Study Guide
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Galileo from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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