Disquisitiones mathematicae, de controversiis et novitatibus astronomicis quas sub praesidio Christophori Scheiner, De Societate Iesv ... publice disputandas posvit, propvgnavit ... Ioannes Georgius Locher ... Ingolstadt: Eder for Elisabeth Angermaria, 1614. [Bound after:] TANNER, Adam, praes. Astrologia Sacra: hoc est, Orationes et Quaestiones quinque, quibus explicatur, an et qua ratione fas sit homini christiano, de rebus occultis, praesertim futuris, ex astris iudicium ferre / Dictae & discussae ... D. Otho Henricus Bachmair Monacensis, ... & D. Fridericus Pirchinger, . Promotore Adamo Tannero, E Societate Jesu ... Ingolstadt: Eder for Elisabeth Angermaria, 1615.

Ingolstadt: Eder for Elisabeth Angermaria, 1614 & 1615.

First edition, in a beautiful contemporary binding, of Scheiner’s very rare work containing the second earliest map of the moon – but the first to give topographical details – as well as the first illustrations of a telescope. It builds upon Scheiner’s 1612 discovery of sunspots, made using a telescope he built himself, which led to his famous controversy with Galileo. This work discusses almost all the astronomical issues then current, especially those brought about by the newly invented telescope. There is an extensive argument against the notion of an infinite universe, illustrated by a striking full-page woodcut on p. 17 of ‘Chaos infinitum ex atomis’ surrounding the sphere of fixed stars. This is followed by a detailed examination of the Copernican heliocentric theory, as well as the Tychonic system, which he supported, and that of Fracastoro; the systems are illustrated by three large diagrams. Then follow discussions of the moon (including its ‘secondary light’), the sun (with a full examination of sunspots), and the planets. On p. 58 is an extraordinary map of the moon, with craters and other features labelled and listed, including Mare Crisium, Mare Tranquilitatis, Mare Foecunditatis, Mare Nectaris and the crater Aristoteles. The only earlier maps of the moon are those published in Galileo’s Sidereus Nuncius (1610), but these are “apparently but schematic views of what Galileo saw with his telescope, for none of the features recorded on them can be identified with certainty with any known formation” (Kopal, p. 62). This is followed by a chapter on Jupiter and its moons, with a series of Scheiner’s own observations illustrated on p. 79. Saturn and the phases of Venus conclude the work. On pages 87 and 89 a telescope is illustrated in the process of observing Saturn and the phases of Venus; these are the first illustrations of a telescope in use. Another illustration of a telescope was published in Simon Mayr's Mundus jovialis (Nuremberg 1614), which appeared at about the same time as the Disquisitiones (there are two issues of Mayr’s work, in the second of which Mayr responds to Scheiner’s Disquisitiones), but in Mayr’s work the telescope appears in a woodcut portrait of the author and is not shown in use. As was the custom, Scheiner wrote the dissertations for his students, including the present one, written for Johann Georg Locher. It was cited by Biancani in 1620, by Galileo in 1632 (in the Dialogo), by Mersenne in 1636, by Hevelius in 1647, and by Riccioli in 1651 (see Reeves, p. 205). ABPC/RBH list only the Streeter copy (bound in modern vellum) in the last 80 years (Christie’s, 16 April 2007, lot 460).

Bound before Scheiner’s work is a dissertation on astronomy and against astrology written by Scheiner’s Jesuit Superior at Ingolstadt University, Adam Tanner. Tanner discusses the usefulness of telescopic observations and the relation of theology to astrology and to astronomy. The second part includes a discussion of Galileo’s discoveries announced in the Sidereus Nuncius. Scheiner worked with Tanner trying to make or obtain improved telescopes and, independently of Scheiner, Tanner observed sunspots in the autumn of 1611, having heard a rumour about Galileo’s observations. But Scheiner always maintained that his own first observations of sunspots had been made in the spring and without knowledge of Galileo’s. Tanner makes no mention of Scheiner’s activities in the present work, and on p. 49 credits Galileo with the first observation of sunspots: “Assuredly the great astronomer Galileo, the first discoverer of these wonders of the skies, maintains that these spots which overshadow the sun …”

“[Scheiner (1573-1650)] was appointed professor of Hebrew and mathematics at Ingolstadt in 1610. The following year Scheiner constructed a telescope with which he began to make observations, and in March 1611 he detected the presence of spots on the sun. His religious superiors did not wish him to publish under his own name, lest he be mistaken and bring discredit on the Society of Jesus; but he communicated his discovery to his friend Marc Welser in Augsburg. In 1612 Welser had Scheiner’s letters printed under the title Tres epistolae de maculis solaribus, and he sent copies abroad, notably to Galileo and Kepler. Scheiner believed that the spots were small planets circling the sun; and in a second series of letters, which Welser published in the same year as De maculis solaribus ... accuratior disquisitio, Scheiner discussed the individual motion of the spots, their period of revolution, and the appearance of brighter patches or faculae on the surface of the sun. Having observed the lower conjunction of Venus with the sun, Scheiner concluded that Venus and Mercury revolve around the sun ... In Ingolstadt, Scheiner trained young mathematicians and organized public debates on current issues in astronomy. Two of these “disputations” were subsequently published. In the first, the Disquisitiones mathematicae de controversis et novitatibus astronomicis, Scheiner upheld the traditional view that the earth is at rest at the center of the universe but praised Galileo for his discoveries of the phases of Venus and the satellites of Jupiter” (DSB). The second of the disputations dealt with the construction of sundials.

The opening section of the book (pp. 6-11), headed De praestantia, necessitate et utilitate mathematicae, “consists largely of lengthy quotation from Possevino on the value of mathematics for understanding Plato and Aristotle and its use in a number of practical arts … There follows material on the scientific status of mathematics and the proper objects of its various branches: “Mathematics demonstrates its conclusions scientifically, by axioms, definitions, postulates, and suppositions; whence it is clear that it is truly called a science” … The text was evidently written by Scheiner for a student to defend – a common practice in this period … For the attribution (certain from internal evidence), see Sommervogel, Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus, vol. 7, p. 737, col. 1” (Dear, p. 41).

“A year after the emergence of [De maculis solaribus ...] Accuratior Disquisitio, Scheiner published a set of theses defended by one of his students, Johann Georg Locher, entitled Disquisitiones mathematicae, de controversiis et novitatibus astronomicis. This work offered a brief discussion of sunspots: “They are blackish bodies wandering about the Sun with various motions; neither their number nor their nature has yet been defined. They are so close to the Sun that the senses cannot separate them from it, for they have no parallax whatsoever with respect to it, and they are together with the Sun. From this it is evident that they are very close to the Sun and are absolutely not in the air. To put it another way, the notion that they do not remain on the Sun the entire day, or that they appear [only] for a little while when the Sun is over the horizon, or that they are not [seen] in the same place when observed simultaneously from widely separated places such as Italy, Germany, or Poland, is contradicted by experience. Whether they are stars is still to be determined. Consult the paintings of Apelles [a pseudonym for Scheiner used by Welser], go to the History of Galileo [i.e., Istoria e Dimostrazioni Intorno Alle Macchie Solari (1613)], and expect more in time” [p. 66].

“The thesis also alluded to another solar phenomenon, faculae, which had first been mentioned by Galileo in his third sunspot letter: “Faculae are small areas on the Sun that are brighter than the rest of its body. Where, in what way, and what they may be will be explained elsewhere soon. They have been observed with the spots from the beginning, and Signor Galileo wrote this in the third letter of his History, fol. 131.” 

“Whereas it was possible, even plausible, that the dark spots, maculae, were extrasolar planetary bodies – Galileo had entertained the possibility in his first announcement in print – it was less feasible to assign the brighter faculae, which had exactly the same motions as the dark maculae, to orbits around the Sun. The faculae were very likely an important consideration in Scheiner’s abandonment of the planetary nature of sunspots.

“In the course of his student’s thesis, Scheiner also offered a full review of the information available about Jupiter’s satellites, beginning with a statement about their discovery: “Jupiter’s wonderful retinue was first discovered a few years ago by Signor Galilei, the distinguished and brilliant Italian mathematician …, and the entire community of astronomers was deservedly carried away in its admiration for him. For around this Lord, if you will, four attendants revolve, of different motions, sizes and distances” [p. 78]” (Reeves & Van Helden, pp. 307-8).

“While supporting a geocentric (or geoheliocentric) and geostatic universe, [Scheiner] describes and schematically depicts a range of alternate universes, including contemporary Ptolemaic, Tychonic, and Copernican proposals but also including what is labeled “The Mathematical [or Astronomical] System of the Ancients.” After first summing up the traditional two-story universe, Scheiner then goes on to sketch a schematic of an infinite Cosmos or (more precisely) Multiverse: “Everything therefore that is corporeal either is in the heavens or is contained by the circuit of the heavens; and standing far off is the Earth, appointed center of the heavens, and thus functioning as the center so far as perception is concerned. Above Earth comes water, and above water air, which is surrounded by the ether, and this in turn by the womb of the heavens. These things accordingly make up the mass of the universe, and from these in turn all other things come to be. Most ancient philosophers are opposed to this partition and many more recent ones are opposed to that placement of things. And indeed, those ancients along with many mathematicians have declared that the universe is infinite. Within this they have distinguished two parts, one of which they assert to be this world or rather worlds, separate and finite in mass yet infinite in number; the other dispersed beyond the world, an infinite great heap of atoms, from which both already-created worlds might be fed and new worlds might from time to time be made. Moreover, concerning our own world, philosophers have variously disagreed among themselves concerning its measure and structure. And so we may call their system somewhat formless and defective, according to the present diagram, except for the firmament marked ABCD, which is the highest heavens, in whose embrace the planets and other elements are held in place, but beyond which might surge an infinite Chaos, full of unformed atoms – within which our universe might seem to swim, from which it might come into being, and into which it might eventually dissolve” [pp. 16-17]” (Danielson, pp. 38-9).

Scheiner, however, takes issue with the “ancients along with many mathematicians [who] have declared that the universe is infinite”, for he proceeds to give fascinating arguments against the existence of a physical infinitude, and in particular of the “infinite atomistic chaos” surrounding our observable universe. Scheiner imagines a line of alternating black and white segments, of a given actual length, the line starting at A and extending infinitely to the right, in the direction of F – this is illustrated in the diagram on p. 45.  Now suppose the black segments are eliminated, and the whites collapsed to the left toward A: is there now an infinite amount of space remaining to the right of the whites? That is impossible, Scheiner argues: you cannot start from A and reach the end of the infinite series of white segments. As a second argument, Scheiner imagines pairing off the blacks and whites, or grouping them into threesomes or foursomes. If the line consisted of a dozen segments, then there would be six pairs, four threesomes, or three foursomes, but if the line consists of infinitely many segments it must divide into an infinite number of each. But this is impossible, because there must be fewer foursomes than threesomes, etc. Does this mean that one infinity is larger than another? Does all this not say that you can subtract an infinity from an infinity and get an infinity? Scheiner concludes that the notion of an infinitude of actual physical objects is absurd, although he does grant the validity of the mathematical concept of infinity, which he says is necessary in order that the square roots of numbers can be determined exactly (among other reasons). Scheiner draws some important conclusions from this: the universe cannot have existed from eternity; and therefore it was brought into existence at some point in time; and therefore we know from evidence that almighty God, the author of the universe, exists; and the fables of the ancients, about the universe forming from the confluence of elementary particles, are destroyed. There is no infinite multiverse.

In another remarkable passage Scheiner gives a thought experiment to show that bodies (such as the Earth) undergo circular motion under a central attractive force. He imagines an L-shaped rod, with one end buried in the Earth and a heavy iron ball attached to the free end. The heaviness or gravity of the ball (that is, its action of trying to reach its natural place at the center of the universe) presses down on the rod, but the rigidity of the rod keeps the ball from falling. Scheiner now imagines the rod being hinged at a point A on the Earth’s surface. The heaviness of the ball will now cause the rod to pivot about the hinge. The ball will fall along an arc of a circle whose center is A, striking the Earth at B, say. If the Earth is made smaller relative to the rod, the same thing will still occur—the rod pivots; the iron ball falls in a circular arc; if the Earth is imagined to be smaller still, the rod will be what hits the ground, not the ball, so the ball stops at C, say, but the ball still falls in a circular arc whose center is A. If the Earth is imagined to be smaller and smaller, the ball still falls, driven by its gravity, in a circular arc. Scheiner finally passes to the limiting case in which the rod pivots about the center of the universe itself — the Earth vanishing to a point. Surely, he says, in this situation, a complete and perpetual revolution will take place around that same pivot point A (fiet reuolutio integra & perpetua circa idem A). Now, Scheiner says, we have demonstrated that perpetual circular motion of a heavy body is possible. And if we imagine the Earth in the place of the iron ball, suspended over the center of the universe, we have a thought experiment (cogitatione percipi possit) that shows how the Earth might be made to revolve about that center (and about the Sun, which would be at the center in the Copernican system). Scheiner’s diagram illustrating this argument is on p. 37: curves MN, OP, and QR are the surface of the Earth, being imagined smaller and smaller. S is the iron ball. A is the center of the universe. Circle CHIC is the path of the orbiting ball.

Scheiner opposed Galileo’s hypothesis that the secondary light of the moon is due to reflected light from the sun. In Scheiner’s view, “the ashen glow with which the moon was adorned shortly before and after conjunction was not in essence different from the brighter light that fell on the horns: the apparent differences in illumination were to be attributed to both the moon’s semidiaphanous substance and its dimensions … “I say therefore that this brilliance on the moon is produced by the Sun, not so much by the radiation and reflection from which the primary light of the moon is born, but by a glowing within and throughout the globe; thus as the rays of the Sun are absorbed by the moon and terminated in it, so the moon becomes a wholly luminous body”” (Reeves, pp. 205-5). This last statement was mercilessly attacked by Galileo in the Dialogo (1632).

Relations between Galileo and Scheiner may have deteriorated in later years, but at the time the present work was published Scheiner held Galileo in high regard, even though they disagreed on a number of scientific matters.  “Early in 1615, Scheiner sent a copy of his Disquisitiones to Galileo, addressing him as follows: “Noble, Excellent, and most Esteemed Lord, Now that the occasion has arisen, I am gladly doing what I have often intended: to address Your Excellency with a letter and to interrupt you with a trifling present. One of my students recently defended the Mathematical Disquisitions, and I will send Your Lordship a copy, not because I wish to teach [you] something, but rather to declare that my heart is well disposed [to you] and to request some epistolary communications, if that is proper. It does not, however, escape me that the Copernican opinion and hypotheses are looked upon very favorably by Your Lordship, but my opinions, or rather those of my student, are such that they do not seek to escape the censure of the more learned. Therefore, although I do not think that in this matter one should be violently deprived of his opinion, I judge that reason should not be spared in order to find the truth. For if Your Excellency puts forward something to the contrary, it will never offend us, but we will willingly read what is produced against [us], always in the hope that from it greater light will be shed on the truth … I ask of you one thing at this time: if you have tables of the revolutions of the Medicean Stars [i.e., Jupiter’s moons] – and I hardly doubt that you do – you deem it worthy to communicate them to me. I offer myself ready to return the favor. May your Lordship fare well and pray God for me.”

“Two months later Scheiner tried again, this time sending Galileo a copy of his new book, Sol Ellipticus. There is no record of Galileo’s response to overtures from a colleague who was a member of an order that was, in this period, well disposed toward him” (Reeves & Van Helden, pp. 308-9).

Scheiner went on to publish books on atmospheric refraction and the optics of the eye, building on the optical achievements of Johannes Kepler. In 1616 Scheiner left Ingolstadt to become the advisor on mathematical subjects to Arch Duke Maximilian, brother of Emperor Rudolph II. When the Arch Duke died on a voyage to Spain in 1624, Scheiner went to Rome, where he stayed for the next eight years and where he published his greatest work, Rosa Ursina (1630), the standard work on sunspots for more than a century. In his Assayer of 1623, Galileo had made certain disparaging remarks about those who had tried to steal his priority of discovery of celestial phenomena. Although Galileo almost certainly had others in mind, Scheiner interpreted these remarks as being directed against him. He therefore devoted the first book of Rosa Ursina to an all out attack on Galileo, and it has been said that his enmity toward Galileo was instrumental in initiating the actions of the Inquisition against the Florentine. In 1633 Scheiner returned to the German region, where he spent the rest of his life in Vienna and Neisse, supervising the building of the new Jesuit College at Neisse.

Adam Tanner (1572-1632) joined the Society of Jesus in 1589, first taught in Ingolstadt in 1603, and at the University of Vienna in 1618 as professor of theology. He was noted for his defence of the Catholic Church and the church’s practices against Lutheran reformers as well as the Ultraquists. He was the first German Jesuit to express doubts over the persecution of witches. Whereas he did not deny the reality of witchcraft, he attacked the procedures and the use of torture characteristic of the persecution of those accused.

I. BEA II, 1018; BM/STC 17th-century German S-594; Houzeau and Lancaster 2948; Jesuit Science in the Age of Galileo 3; VD17 12:161843A; Sommervogel VII 737 3; Zinner 4484; OCLC locates copies in North America at the Library of Congress, Loyola University of Chicago, Huntington, Linda Hall, Harvard, Brown University, New York Public Library, Yale, and Smithsonian. Danielson, Paradise Lost and the Cosmological Revolution, 2014. Dear, Discipline and Experience: The Mathematical Way in the Scientific Revolution, 1995. Kopal, ‘The earliest maps of the moon,’ The Moon, Vol. 1 (1969), pp. 59-66. Reeves, Painting the Heavens: Art and Science in the Age of Galileo, 1999. Reeves & Van Helden (tr.), Galileo Galilei & Christoph Scheiner, On Sunspots, 2010. II. VD17 23:238787Z; OCLC records no locations for North America. On Tanner, see Sommervogel VII, cols. 1843-1855.

Together two works in one vol., 4to (192 x 155 mm), pp. [2], 90, [4, last blank]; ff. [4], pp. 64; with numerous text woodcuts to Scheiner’s work, including images of the moon, some full-page; pages 75/76 and 81/82 folded in at outer margins, due to oversize images; a partly erased early inscription to the title of Tanner’s work, and a few early annotations to the same; excellent copies in contemporary vellum using an earlier manuscript sheet (musical notations); two ties; ms paper label.

Item #4126

Price: $38,500.00