Differentiating Astronomy and Astrology in Early Modern Europe

If today there is a sharp distinction between astronomy, the science of stars, and astrology, using horoscopes to make prediction, that has not always been the case. Before the seventeenth century, the words astronomy and astrology were often used interchangeably, and most astronomers (for example, Ptolemy and Kepler) were also astrologers. In this talk, we will examine how the distinction between astronomy and astrology had been puzzling scholars for centuries, and how a consensus was finally found in the early modern period. Behind this question of terminology lies the problem of distinguishing good and bad knowledge, and judging  the heritage of the past. It is a question about the bases and norms of scientific knowledge. It is a question about building boundaries in the intellectual world.

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Gregor Reisch

Gregor Reisch, a Carthusian monk, died May 9, 1525, at the age of about 58. Carthusians were monastic, and took vows of silence, but were generally intellectually-minded and committed to education, which meant they often wrote books. Reisch contributed to this mission...

Basilios Bessarion

Basilios Bessarion, a Greek scholar, was born Jan. 2, sometime between 1389 and 1403. Bessarion came from Trebizond, a city on the Black Sea that was a prominent cultural center of the Byzantine Empire. He was rising in the hierarchy of the Greek Orthodox Church when...