In December of 1613, Galileo received a letter from Father Castelli, a close friend of his and a fellow astronomer. Castelli had recently dined with the royal family of Tuscany, and he reported how the Grand Duchess Christina had criticized the heliocentric theory for its repudiation of Holy Scripture. Galileo fired back a letter to his friend that would later be published, with the author's permission, across Italy. In it, he declared that scriptural literalism had no place in scientific inquiry. "Inasmuch as the Bible calls for an interpretation differing from the immediate sense of the words," he wrote, "it seems to me that as an authority in mathematical controversy it has very little standing... I believe that natural processes which we perceive by careful observation or deduce by cogent demonstration cannot be refuted by passages from the Bible." Had he halted there, all
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Grand Duchess Christina, Maria Novella. Caccini, fellow astronomer. Castelli