SR-09a-Osiander's Preface

SR-09a-Osiander's Preface - Osianders Preface to De...

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Osiander’s Preface to De Revolutionibus Andreas Osiander was a Lutheran theologian and mathematician to whom Georg Joachim Rheticus entrusted the task of seeing the manuscript of Copernicus’s De Revolutionibus through the press in Nuremberg in 1542–43. Osiander added an anonymous preface in which he stated that Copernicus did not mean for his ‘hypothesis’ of a moving Earth to be taken literally, but proposed it only as a convenient assumption for computational purposes. Copernicus died just as the book was being printed, so we do not know if he ever saw Osiander’s preface or how he may have reacted to it. Rheticus, however, was very upset by it, as were several of Copernicus’s other friends, and they demanded that the printer reissue the book without the unauthorized preface. This was not done, however, and over the next few decades many people accepted the preface at face value and concluded (against the evidence of the actual content of De Revolutionibus ) that Copernicus had proposed his theory of heliocentrism as simply a calculational convenience rather than a true reflection of the workings of the planetary system. Osiander’s authorship of the anonymous
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This note was uploaded on 12/03/2011 for the course HISTORY 322D taught by Professor Hunt during the Fall '11 term at University of Texas.

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SR-09a-Osiander's Preface - Osianders Preface to De...

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