We use cookies to track usage and preferences. See Cookie Policy
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
US
Pocketmags Digital Magazines

New and Notable

Listing does not preclude future review.

THE ASTRONOMER AND THE WITCH: Johannes Kepler’s Fight forhis Mother. Ulinka Rublack. Astronomer Johannes Kepler was a key figure in the scientific revolution, defending the Copernican view of a sun-centered universe. However, his role in defending those accused of witchcraft is far less well known. In 1615, when Kepler was at the height of his career, his mother Katharina was accused of witchcraft. The trial lasted six years, and Kepler conducted his mother’s de fense. In The Astronomer and the Witch, Ulinka Rublack discusses this episode in Kepler’s life and how it offers a fascinating glimpse into his worldview. While providing rational explanations for phenomena that his mother’s accusers attributed to witchcraft—for example, Rublack notes that Katharina Kepler had accidentally brought suspicion on herself by asking for her fathers’s skull, since “Skulls ranked among the legally recognized means of sorcery and could render anyone dealing with them under suspicion of being a witch”—Kepler did not question the existence of magic or witchcraft; in fact, he believed in them. And Kepler was hardly alone; as Brian Levack notes in his book The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe, “In the context of witchcraft the word ‘skepticism’ usually denotes the attitudes of those who doubt or deny the existence of witches or the possibility of their crime. Judicial skeptics did not necessarily adopt such a stance. . . . Judicial skepticism could, and in most cases did, coexist with a firm belief in the reality and possibility of the crime” (p. 254). The Astronomer and the Witch is a fascinating blend of science biography and examination of witchcraft beliefs and persecutions. Oxford University Press, 2015, 272 pp, $29.95.

READ MORE
Purchase options below
Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Skeptical Inquirer - November December 2015
If you own the issue, Login to read the full article now.
Single Issue - November December 2015
$2.99
Or 299 points
Annual Digital Subscription
Only $ 2.83 per issue
SAVE
5%
$16.99
Or 1699 points

View Issues

About Skeptical Inquirer

The Man Who Solved the BERMUDA TRIANGLE ‘MYSTERY’ LARRY KUSCHE Looks Back on His Classic Investigation BIOCENTRISM: A Curious ‘Me’ Universe The Consensus on Human-Caused Global Warming and much more....
Ways to Pay Pocketmags Payment Types
At Pocketmags you get Secure Billing Great Offers HTML Reader Gifting options Loyalty Points