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Planets, Stars, and Orbs

Planets, Stars, and Orbs
The Medieval Cosmos, 1200–1687
2 Volume Paperback Set


  • Date Published: July 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Multiple copy pack
  • isbn: 9780521138680

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About the Authors
  • Medieval cosmology was a fusion of pagan Greek ideas and biblical descriptions of the world, especially the creation account in Genesis. Because cosmology was based on discussions of the relevant works of Aristotle, primary responsibility for its study fell to scholastic theologians and natural philosophers in the universities of western Europe from the thirteenth to the seventeenth century. Edward Grant describes the extraordinary range of themes, ideas, and arguments that constituted scholastic cosmology for approximately five hundred years, from around 1200 to 1700. Primary emphasis is placed on the world as a whole, what might lie beyond it, and the celestial region, which extended from the Moon to the outermost convex surface of the cosmos. Another important aspect of this study is how natural philosophers in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries responded to the new interpretations of a heliocentric instead of a geoheliocentric Aristotelian cosmology.

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2009
    • format: Multiple copy pack
    • isbn: 9780521138680
    • dimensions: 250 x 324 x 69 mm
    • weight: 1.55kg
    • contains: 14 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: scope, sources, and social context
    1. Pierre Duhem, Medieval cosmology and the scope of the present day
    2. The sources of cosmology in the late Middle Ages
    3. The social and institutional matrix of scholastic cosmology
    Part I. The Cosmos as a Whole and What, if Anything, Lies Beyond:
    4. Is the world eternal, without beginning or end?
    5. The creation of the world
    6. The finitude, shape, and place of the world
    7. The perfection of the world
    8. The possibility of other worlds
    9. Extracosmic void space
    Part II. The Celestial Region:
    10. The incorruptibility of the celestial region
    11. Celestial perfection
    12. On celestial matter: can it exist in a changeless state?
    13. The mobile celestial orbs: concentrics, eccentrics, and epicycles
    14. Are the heavens composed of hard orbs or a fluid substance?
    15. The immobile orb of the cosmos: the empyrean heaven
    16. Celestial light
    17. The properties and qualities of celestial bodies, and the dimensions of the world
    18. On celestial motions and their causes
    19. The influence of the celestial region on the terrestrial
    20. The earth and its cosmic relations: size, centrality, shape, and immobility
    Conclusion: Five centuries of scholastic cosmology

  • Author

    Edward Grant, Indiana University, Bloomington

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