This essay deals with two seventeenth-century intellectuals, the Aristotelian philosopher at Padua, Cesare Cremonini, and the Jesuit controversist, Robert Bellarmine. In the years of the cosmological affair of 1616, both defended their cosmological conceptions by relying on the principle of authority. However, they embraced different sources of legitimation in matters of natural philosophy. While the Padua professor stick to (what he considered to be) the letter of Aristotle, basically a secular interpretation of his world conception, Cardinal and Inquisitor Bellarmine understood the cosmos against a theological background. In particular, Bellarmine subordinated natural philosophy to exegesis and the authority of the Scriptures, and this allowed him to depart from Aristotle to some extent (for instance on the fluidity and possibly the corruptibility of the heavens). Yet, the two thinkers also shared the criticism of the major astronomical novelty of their time, namely the planetary system of Copernicus and his followers. But their objections rested on different worldviews and authorities (Aristotle and the Scriptures, respectively). Cremonini also supported a vision of celestial animation which was received with much preoccupation by religious authorities as they feared that his views might revive forms of astral worshipping. This essay discusses the manner in which Cremonini and Bellarmine received geocentrism and cosmology in very different, even opposite, manners, especially concerning the relation between natural philosophy and theology, and the reconcilability of cosmology with the Scriptures.

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