Copernicus's Forbidden Book


On March 5, 1616, Nicolaus Copernicus's book, "On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres," was added to the Roman Catholic Church's Index Librorum Prohibitorum (List of Forbidden Books), over 70 years after the book had been published. The book is considered to be the first on modern astronomy, but was considered to be heretical by church officials because it offered an alternative to Ptolemy's geocentric model, which had been widely accepted as being correct since ancient times (which also complimented biblical passages). By entertaining the possibility of a heliocentric cosmology, Copernicus issued a direct challenge Aristotelian science, and the book eventually helped to usher in the Scientific Revolution. "On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres" wasn't removed from the church's List of Forbidden Books until 1758 by Pope Benedict XIV.