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I, Galileo, son of the late Vincenzo Galilei of Florence, being 70 years old [...], swear that I have always believed, believe now and, with God's help, will in the future believe all that the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church doth hold, preach and teach.
But since, after having been admonished by this Holy Office entirely to abandon the false opinion that the sun is the centre of the Universe and immovable, and that the Earth is not the centre of the same and that it moves, and that I was neither to hold, defend, nor teach in any manner whatsoever, either orally or in writing, the said false doctrine; and after having received a notification that the said doctrine is contrary to Holy Writ, I wrote and published a book in which I treat this condemned doctrine and bring forward very persuasive arguments in its favour without answering them: I have been judged vehemently suspected of heresy, that is of having held and believed that the Sun is at the centre of the Universe and immovable, and that the Earth is not at the centre and that it moves.
Therefore, wishing to remove from the minds of your Eminences and all faithful Christians this vehement suspicion reasonably conceived against me, I abjure with a sincere heart and unfeigned faith these errors and heresies, and I curse and detest them as well as any other error, heresy or sect contrary to the Holy Catholic Church. And I swear that for the future I shall neither say nor assert orally or in writing such things as may bring upon me similar suspicions; and if I know any heretic, or one suspected of heresy, I will denounce him to this Holy Office, or to the Inquisitor or Ordinary of the place in which I may be.
What generated this abjuration? The following:
His Holiness [has] decreed that the said Galileo is to be interrogated with regard to his intention, even with the threat of torture, and, if he sustains [his claim not to be a heretic], he is to abjure [heresy] vehemently in a plenary assembly of the Congregation of the Holy Office, be condemned to imprisonment as the Holy Congregation thinks best, and ordered not to treat further, in any way at all, either verbally or in writing, of the mobility of the earth and the stability of the sun; otherwise he will incur the penalties for relapse. The book entitled Dialogo de Galileo Galilei is to be prohibited. Furthermore, that these things may be known by all, [His Holiness has] ordered that copies of the sentence be sent to all papal ambassadors, to all inquisitors against heretical depravity, and especially the inquisitor in Florence, who shall read publicly the sentence in the presence of as many as possible of those who profess the mathematical art.
-- from the records of the Holy Office, 1633
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Professor of Economics
J. Bradford DeLong, 601 Evans
University of California at Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
(510) 643-4027 phone; (510) 642-6615 fax