Kepler's Witch by James A. Connor
An Astronomer's Discovery of Cosmic Order Amid Religious War, Political Intrigue, and the Heresy Trial of His Mother

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 4 Critic Reviews

unrated

Synopsis

Set against the backdrop of the witchcraft trial of his mother, this lively biography of Johannes Kepler – 'the Protestant Galileo' and 16th century mathematician and astronomer – reveals the surprisingly spiritual nature of the quest of early modern science.

In the style of Dava Sobel's Galileo's Daughter, Connor's book brings to life the tidal forces of Reformation, Counter–Reformation, and social upheaval. Johannes Kepler, who discovered the three basic laws of planetary motion, was persecuted for his support of the Copernican system. After a neighbour accused his mother of witchcraft, Kepler quit his post as the Imperial mathematician to defend her.

James Connor tells Kepler's story as a pilgrimage, a spiritual journey into the modern world through war and disease and terrible injustice, a journey reflected in the evolution of Kepler's geometrical model of the cosmos into a musical model, harmony into greater harmony. The leitmotif of the witch trial adds a third dimension to Kepler's biography by setting his personal life within his own times. The acts of this trial, including Kepler's letters and the accounts of the witnesses, although published in their original German dialects, had never before been translated into English. Echoing some of Dava Sobel's work for Galileo's Daughter, Connor has translated the witch trial documents into English. With a great respect for the history of these times and the life of this man, Connor's accessible story illuminates the life of Kepler, the man of science, but also Kepler, a man of uncommon faith and vision.

 

About James A. Connor

See more books from this Author
James A. Connor is the author of Kepler's Witch: An Astronomer's Discovery of Cosmic Order Amid Religious War, Political Intrigue, and the Heresy Trial of His Mother and Silent Fire: Bringing the Spirituality of Silence to Everyday Life. A former Jesuit priest, Connor is professor of English at Kean University in Union, New Jersey; he has also held teaching posts at St. Louis University and Gonzaga University. He is a director of studies at the Lessing Institute in Prague. He holds degrees in geoscience, philosophy, theology, and creative writing, and a Ph.D. in literature and science. He is a prize-winning essayist published widely in such places as American Book Review, Traditional Home, Willow Springs, The Critic, The Iowa Review, and The Iowa Journal of Literary Studies.
 
Published October 13, 2009 by HarperCollins e-books. 428 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Religion & Spirituality, Science & Math, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Kepler's Witch

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

A former Jesuit who has written about spirituality (Silent Fire, not reviewed), the author admirably sets Kepler (1571–1630) within the important context of his faith, showing how he brought it to bear on his scientific work by finding “God in the hidden mathematical harmonies of the universe in ...

Apr 01 2004 | Read Full Review of Kepler's Witch: An Astronomer...

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

"Kepler did not wish to separate his science from his metaphysics or his metaphysics from his mysticism," writes Connor, who gives us a healthy, purposeful, and illuminating dose of each.

| Read Full Review of Kepler's Witch: An Astronomer...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

This is not the Kepler one might know from textbooks—Connor's Kepler is a man driven by his deep Lutheran faith, yet ultimately excommunicated for his desire to reach out to Catholics and Calvinists;

| Read Full Review of Kepler's Witch: An Astronomer...

Review (Barnes & Noble)

The universe was created on this day in 4977 B.C., according to the German mathematician and astronomer-astrologer Johannes Kepler.

Apr 27 2012 | Read Full Review of Kepler's Witch: An Astronomer...

Reader Rating for Kepler's Witch
75%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 21 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×