The astronomer & the witch : Johannes Kepler's fight for his mother

by Rublack, Ulinka,

Format: Print Book 2015
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 3 copies
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Monroeville Public Library Non-fiction 940.2 RUBLACK
Location  Monroeville Public Library
Collection  Non-fiction
Call Number  940.2 RUBLACK
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CLP - Main Library Mezzanine - Non-fiction CHECKED OUT
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Mezzanine - Non-fiction
Northland Public Library Biography IN TRANSIT
Location  Northland Public Library
Collection  Biography
Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) was one of the most admired astronomers who ever lived and a key figure in the scientific revolution. A defender of Copernicus's sun-centred universe, he famously discovered that planets move in ellipses, and defined the three laws of planetary motion. Perhaps lesswell known is that in 1615, when Kepler was at the height of his career, his widowed mother Katharina was accused of witchcraft. The proceedings led to a criminal trial that lasted six years, with Kepler conducting his mother's defence.In The Astronomer and the Witch, Ulinka Rublack pieces together the tale of this extraordinary episode in Kepler's life, one which takes us to the heart of his changing world. First and foremost an intense family drama, the story brings to life the world of a small Lutheran community in the centreof Europe at a time of deep religious and political turmoil - a century after the Reformation, and on the threshold of the Thirty Years' War.Kepler's defence of his mother also offers us a fascinating glimpse into the great astronomer's world view, on the cusp between Reformation and scientific revolution. While advancing rational explanations for the phenomena which his mother's accusers attributed to witchcraft, Kepler nevertheless didnot call into question the existence of magic and witches. On the contrary, he clearly believed in them. And, as the story unfolds, it appears that there were moments when even Katharina's children struggled to understand what their mother had done...
Published Reviews
Publisher's Weekly Review: "In this luminous study, Rublack (Dressing Up: Cultural Identity in Renaissance Europe), professor of early modern European history the University of Cambridge, shows that Johannes Kepler (1571-1630)-revered astronomer, defender of Copernicus, and a beacon of the early scientific revolution-was also a man of his time. She details the events of Kepler's life using copious regional records as well as his collected works. The focus of the book is the 1615 trial for witchcraft of Kepler's mother, Katharina, which Rublack could have spun as a matter of science vs. superstition, but instead she gives readers a nuanced look at a world in which most people, including Kepler, believed that witches existed. Local citizens of the Duchy of Württemberg, in the Holy Roman Empire, carefully analyzed the evidence at Katharina's trial, and Kepler and his siblings went to her defense, but family relations became strained as the trial dragged on. Katharina's adult children were torn between love for their irascible mother and fear for their own impoverishment and loss of status. Rublack superbly conveys the tension among the Keplers as well as the personalities of the accusers and officials, who were not single-handedly determined to convict a witch. Readers will discover the complexities of early 17th-century German society through figures whose motivations remain familiar. (Dec.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Keplerin, Katharina, -- 1547-1622 -- Trials, litigation, etc.
Kepler, Johannes, -- 1571-1630.
Astronomers -- Germany -- Biography.
Astronomers -- Germany -- History -- 17th century.
Trials -- Germany -- History -- 17th century.
Trials (Witchcraft) -- Germany -- 17th century.
Witch hunting -- Germany -- History -- 17th century.
Witchcraft -- Germany -- History -- 17th century.
Witches -- Germany -- History -- 17th century.
Publisher Oxford, United Kingdom :2015
Edition First edition.
Other Titles Astronomer and the witch
Language English
Description xxxii, 359 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 307-346) and index.
ISBN 9780198736776
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