On March 5, 1616, Nicolaus Copernicus’s book “On the revolutions of the heavenly spheres” (De revolutionibus orbium coelestium) was banned by the Catholic Church.
In the book, which was first published in 1543 in Nuremberg, Copernicus (1473 – 1543) challenged scientific thinking in that it advanced the believe that the sun, and not the earth, was the center of the Universe.
This theory also challenged the religious thought that man, who was created by God, was the center of all things. At the time of its publication, Copernicus’ book did not create great controversy, in part because of its dedication to the pope.
However, once Galileo began his astronomical work and published his findings (which supported the Copernican theory), the book was temporarily suspended on this day in 1616, following a decree against Copernicus’ theories.
Following Galileo’s trial by the Roman Inquisition, Copernicus’s book was banned, and remained on the list of prohibited books until 1835.
Copernicus, who died in 1543, never knew what controversy his work caused. It is said that he did not receive a published copy of the book until shortly before his death.
His original manuscript, lost to the world for 300 years, was located in Prague in the middle of the 19th century.