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Kepler, Harmonies of the World

Kepler, Harmonies of the World

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Published by: natzucow on Jan 16, 2012
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The Harmonies of the World
by Johannes Kepler
translated by Charles Glenn Wallis
Annapolis, the St. John's Bookstore[1939]
Scanned at sacred-texts.com, April 2007. Proofed and formatted by John Bruno Hare. This text is in thepublic domain in the United States because its copyright was not renewed in a timely fashion as required atthe time by law. These files may be used for any non-commercial purpose, provided this notice of attribution is left intact in all copies.
 http://www.sacred-texts.com/astro/how/how00.htm
 Nature, which is never not lavish of herself, after a lying-in of two thousand  years, has finally brought you forth in these last generations, the first trueimages of the universe. By means of your concords of various voices, and through your ears, she has whispered to the human mind, the favorite daughter of God theCreator, how she exists in the innermost bosom.
--[p. 1040]. Johannes Kepler, who originally studied theology, was introduced to the Copernicanworld-view while studying for his Master's degree in Philosophy at the University of Tübingen. He wrote a paper attempting to reconcile the Copernican system with the Bible.Although he wanted to enter the ministry, he was offered a chair of astronomy at theLutheran school of Graz, which he accepted.He became convinced that there was a relationship between the five regular solids and thestructure of the known solar system. His first work on Astronomy,
Precursor of Cosmographic Dissertations or the Cosmographic Mystery
, published in 1596, broughthim to the attention of Tycho Brahe and Galileo. Banished from his homeland by an edictagainst Protestants in 1598, Kepler eventually ended up in Prague, where he workedunder Tycho. On Tycho's death, Kepler took over his post and inherited Tycho's massivearchive of observations.Johannes Kepler published
 Harmonies of the World 
in 1619. This was the summation of his theories about celestial correspondences, and ties together the ratios of the planetaryorbits, musical theory, and the Platonic solids. Kepler's speculations are long discredited.However, this work stands as a bridge between the Hermetic philosophy of theRenaissance, which sought systems of symbolic correspondences in the fabric of nature,and modern science. And today, we finally have heard the music of the spheres: data
 
from outer system probes have been translated into acoustic form, and we can listen tostrange clicks and moans from Jupiter's magnetosphere.Towards the end of 
 Harmonies
Kepler expressed a startling idea,--one which GiordianoBruno had been persecuted for, two decades before--the plurality of inhabited worlds. Hemuses on the diversity of life on Earth, and how it was inconceivable that the otherplanets would be devoid of life, that God had "adorned[ed] the other globes too with theirfitting creatures". [pp. 1084-1085] 
Production Notes
: this is an excerpt from the standard English edition of Kepler's works,which has been published in part and whole numerous times. Due to non-renewal, thistext has fallen into the public domain in the US. The translator, Charles Glenn Wallis, isoften uncredited, but if you see an English translation of this on the market, it willundoubtably be the Wallis translation. The particular copytext I used was the onepublished in volume 16 of 
The Great Books of the Western World 
; I have corrected minorspelling errors in the usual fashion. 
 
p. 1009
 
THE HARMONIES OF THE WORLDby Johannes Kepler
Concerning the very perfect harmony of the celestial movements, and the genesis of eccentricities and the semidiameters, and the periodic times from the same
.After the model of the most correct astronomical doctrine of today, and the hypothesisnot only of Copernicus but also of Tycho Brahe, whereof either hypotheses are todaypublicly accepted as most true, and the Ptolemaic as outmoded.
 I commence a sacred discourse, a most true hymn to God the Founder, and I judge it tobe piety, not to sacrifice many hecatombs of bulls to Him and to burn incense of innumerable perfumes and cassia, but first to learn myself, and afterwards to teachothers too, how great He is in wisdom, how great in power, and of what sort in goodness.For to wish to adorn in every way possible the things that should receive adornment and to envy no thing its goods
 — 
this I put down as the sign of the greatest goodness, and inthis respect I praise Him as good that in the heights of His wisdom He finds everythingwhereby each thing may be adorned to the utmost and that He can do by hisunconquerable power all that he has decreed 
.GALEN,
on the Use of Parts
. Book III
PROEM
[268] As regards that which I prophesied two and twenty years ago (especially that thefive regular solids are found between the celestial spheres), as regards that of which I wasfirmly persuaded in my own mind before I had seen Ptolemy's
 Harmonies
, as regards thatwhich I promised my friends in the title of this fifth book before I was sure of the thingitself, that which, sixteen years ago, in a published statement, I insisted must beinvestigated, for the sake of which I spent the best part of my life in astronomicalspeculations, visited Tycho Brahe, [269] and took up residence at Prague: finally, as Godthe Best and Greatest, Who had inspired my mind and aroused my great desire, prolongedmy life and strength of mind and furnished the other means through the liberality of thetwo Emperors and the nobles of this province of Austria-on-the-Anisana: after I haddischarged my astronomical duties as much as sufficed, finally, I say, I brought it to lightand found it to be truer than I had even hoped, and I discovered among the celestialmovements the full nature of harmony, in its due measure, together with all its partsunfolded in Book III
 — 
not in that mode wherein I had conceived it in my mind (this is notlast in my joy) but in a very different mode which is also very excellent and very perfect.There took place in this intervening time, wherein the very laborious reconstruction of themovements held me in suspense, an extraordinary augmentation of my desire andincentive for the job, a reading of the
 Harmonies
of Ptolemy, which had
p. 1010
 

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