Medicine and the Censorship of Science in Early Modern Europe
This talk examines the Catholic censorship of medical books to in order to reevaluate the classic narrative of a Galilean struggle between faith and science. My study of censors and scholars, books and libraries, and above all the contested status of scientific knowledge reveals the complex interplay between efforts at intellectual control and the demand for prohibited knowledge in Counter-Reformation Europe. I argue that a discourse about the utility of knowledge arose out of this negotiation. The scientific and religious stakes of medicine were inextricably connected through this highly developed discourse of utility, with profound ramifications for later encounters between Catholicism and natural philosophy.