March 5, 1616

On March 5, 1616, the Catholic Church added another book of science to the Index of Forbidden Books. Nicolaus Copernicus’s book, ‘On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres’ was added 73 years after it was first published. The Index of Forbidden Books was a real thing and it wasn’t abolished until June 14, 1966 by Pope Paul VI. Copernicus’s book was added, even though it wasn’t a picture book of nearly topless women, as the title would suggest. It was a book about how the Earth and the other planets orbited the Sun. I understand the irritation of Pope Paul V when he excitedly first received and secretly opened ‘On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres’ and expected to see maybe some colored drawings of naked young women and there was nothing but word after word after word explaining how the Earth and Mercury and Venus and Mars all orbited the Sun. We’ve all been there, but that doesn’t mean he should have pitched a hissy-fit and banned the book so other people couldn’t be tricked into reading it.

About Joel Byers

Born in North Georgia and educated at some very fine public institutions. Real education started after graduating from college and then getting married and raising two boys. Has the ability to see the funny and absurd in most things and will always remark on it, even if it means getting the stink-eye from his victims.
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