Monuments for heretics


in Oxford, Science

At University College, Oxford, you can see a large memorial to Percy Bysshe Shelley. Those who have seen The Saint may remember it as the place where the lead characters meet. Its presence is a bit odd, however, given that the college and university expelled him because he refused to deny writing a pamphlet called The Necessity of Atheism.

The Vatican is now aiming to do one better than University College, erecting a statue of Galileo close to the apartment where he was imprisoned in 1633 on allegations of promoting heliocentrism. His Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems can be read online.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Milan March 5, 2008 at 1:54 pm

This post includes a photo I took of Shelley’s memorial. Here is a photo I took of the Vatican.

tristan March 5, 2008 at 11:03 pm

Interesting that the Vatican is erecting a statue to him. Especially since the dialogue argues against not only geocentrism, but also the notion of substances. The fact the earth goes around the sun is a matter of a single line of verse, but the notion of substances is the entire text of the bible. He was, in fact, imprisoned on allegations of promoting heliocentrism – but this was a kindness, so that he would not be executed for challenging trans substantiation.

Hilary March 6, 2008 at 5:11 pm

typo alert: should be “he was” not “we was”

Milan March 6, 2008 at 5:26 pm

Thanks Hilary.

Kerrie March 9, 2008 at 5:31 pm

I read yesterday that the entire college was excommunicated in 1411 for heresy.


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