PDA

View Full Version : Aristotle/Ptolemy Geocentric and Angels



uverse
2008-Sep-18, 05:00 AM
I'm running into conflicting versions of the angels turning the heavens and planets around the earth. I seem to be able to find that Aristotle said the angels did and Ptolemy did and other sources that say it was added in the middle ages.

I know that Aristotle and Ptolemy were both teaching the Geocentric model.

But did either Aristotle and or Ptolemy claim that the angels pushed the planets around the earth or was it added to the Geocentric model later by the church or in the middle ages by someone else?

If you could quote some reliable sources that would also help.

Thanks,

Michael

Neverfly
2008-Sep-18, 06:47 AM
A multitude of google searches has yet to reveal any results that mention a means for planetary motions.

I have no idea what the answer is... But so far, I haven't found any references for Aristotle or Ptolemy that say that they made that claim.

<shrug>

Hornblower
2008-Sep-18, 11:14 AM
I never heard of any such idea involving angels. If I am not mistaken, Aristotle believed that a divine fundamental force kept the reputed celestial spheres in rotation. As for Ptolemy, I don't think he even bothered with any dynamic theory, as he regarded that aspect of heavenly bodies as inscrutable.

My source is The Fabric of the Heavens, by British authors Toulmin and Goodfield. It may be available on Amazon.

A geocentric model was pretty much taken as self-evident by most people in their right minds in ancient times. Aristarchus, who contemplated a heliocentric model, was dismissed as wildly ATM at the time. We now know that he, and Copernicus many centuries later, were on the right track. It required the emergence of Newtonian dynamics to decisively uphold their ideas.

AndreasJ
2008-Sep-18, 11:20 AM
My understanding is that Aristotle thought that circular motion was the natural state for celestial objects, and his model thus had no need for anyone or anything turning the spheres. I would suspect that Ptolemy agreed.

IIUC, the word "angel" hadn't even acquired the meaning of "heavenly creature" in Aristotle's day.

antoniseb
2008-Sep-18, 12:48 PM
If you could quote some reliable sources that would also help.

I've read G.J. Toomer's translation and explanation of "The Almagest" and also Ptolemy's "Tetrabiblos" (on astrology). I've also read Nicole Oresme's translation of Aristotle's "On the Sky and the Earth". I do recall some mention of "The Prime Mover", but aside from speculating that the Sun might be the prime mover, nothing was attributed to Angels or any other 'divine' power.

I also do not know of any official church doctrine which states that angels pushed the celestial orbs, though you do sometimes see it depicted in fanciful woodcuts. Do you have a reference to *anything* where the church officially says that angels pushing spheres is their reality? My understanding was that they simply attributed the expression "prime mover" to be "God".

StupendousMan
2008-Sep-18, 12:53 PM
Has it occurred to you to go to a local library and read a few texts to see what Aristotle actually wrote?

I recently read a good summary of the cosmological models of many of the ancient Greek philosophers, "Aristarchus of Samos: The Ancient Copernicus". Unfortunately, my copy is back home, and I'm at the office, but my recollection is that you can probably find whatever you wish to find in the Greek texts. There are detailed mathematical calculations and arrangements mixed together with what we would now consider irrelevant ideas, such as daemons and deities and music.

I'm sorry that I can't be more specific, but I again urge you to walk to your nearest library and read the words of the philosophers in question yourself.

George
2008-Sep-18, 01:39 PM
I do recall some mention of "The Prime Mover", but aside from speculating that the Sun might be the prime mover, nothing was attributed to Angels or any other 'divine' power. Yes, the idea of a "Prime Mover" is found often as a causal force for planetary motions in their spheres (cyrstaline or otherwise). Kepler was big on this idea, too.

Once comets were determined to be beyond our atmosphere (Tycho, I think was the dominant player on this), then the limited idea that the spheres were actually crystaline was shown as false.


I also do not know of any official church doctrine which states that angels pushed the celestial orbs, though you do sometimes see it depicted in fanciful woodcuts. I wouldn't doubt that there might have been some general public views that envisioned angelic behavior as a means to having some sort of causal explanation. This would have been about the time they were trying to figure out how many angels would fit on the head of a pin, no doubt. The early 16th century might be close.

Neverfly
2008-Sep-18, 07:02 PM
I never heard of any such idea involving angels. If I am not mistaken, Aristotle believed that a divine fundamental force kept the reputed celestial spheres in rotation. As for Ptolemy, I don't think he even bothered with any dynamic theory, as he regarded that aspect of heavenly bodies as inscrutable.

My source is The Fabric of the Heavens, by British authors Toulmin and Goodfield. It may be available on Amazon.

A geocentric model was pretty much taken as self-evident by most people in their right minds in ancient times. Aristarchus, who contemplated a heliocentric model, was dismissed as wildly ATM at the time. We now know that he, and Copernicus many centuries later, were on the right track. It required the emergence of Newtonian dynamics to decisively uphold their ideas.

Bear in mind, these guys were philosophers, not scientists.

They speculated rather wildly about observations. There was not so much a maintstream and an ATM- there were philosophers arguing about their beliefs.

kleindoofy
2008-Sep-18, 07:41 PM
... IIUC, the word "angel" hadn't even acquired the meaning of "heavenly creature" in Aristotle's day.
The Judeo-Christian concept of "angel" was not a part of ancient day Greek beliefs. The word was used in the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuaginta, in that sense, thus introducing it into Latin and subsequently into other languages. There were messenger 'go-betweens' (άγγελος), but that has nothing to do with the popular concept of an "angel."


... My understanding was that they simply attributed the expression "prime mover" to be "God".
That would be Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologica. Part of his rational attempt to prove the existence of God was his argument that every movement is caused by a prior movement. Since there had to have been a prime movement at the end (or beginning) of the chain, that must have been caused by God, ergo: the prime mover.


Bear in mind, these guys were philosophers, not scientists. ...
Take a look at the self-conception of the academy at Plato's time. Advanced knowledge in mathematics and natural sciences were a prerequisite for being admitted. They viewed themselves as scientists just as much as scientists view themselves today. Philosophy wasn't a faith.

uverse
2008-Sep-19, 07:35 AM
I've read G.J. Toomer's translation and explanation of "The Almagest" and also Ptolemy's "Tetrabiblos" (on astrology). I've also read Nicole Oresme's translation of Aristotle's "On the Sky and the Earth". I do recall some mention of "The Prime Mover", but aside from speculating that the Sun might be the prime mover, nothing was attributed to Angels or any other 'divine' power.

I also do not know of any official church doctrine which states that angels pushed the celestial orbs, though you do sometimes see it depicted in fanciful woodcuts. Do you have a reference to *anything* where the church officially says that angels pushing spheres is their reality? My understanding was that they simply attributed the expression "prime mover" to be "God".

Thanks to all that have tried to answer this for me.

It looks to me that Aristotle said that prime mover set the planets in motion and if I'm not mistaken they kept in motion. Then sometime later in the middle ages it was attributed to the angels to continually move the planets and stars. I was interested in when and who it was that decided this. It seems like no single person can be attributed to it.


The Illustrated on the Shoulders of Giants By Stephen W. Hawking Page 14-15
http://books.google.ca/books?id=iNLqkbDGmiQC&printsec=frontcover#PPA14,M1

Hawking states that the prime mover was embraced by the theologians and interpreted as angels.


Quantum Enigma By Bruce Rosenblum By Fred Kuttner Page 25
http://books.google.ca/books?id=hKrvv35-gcMC&printsec=frontcover#PPA25,M1

Here the authors state that Johannes Keplar attributed the motions to angels.


Most of the history resides in the geocentric evolution. To the person that asked if I checked with my local library, I would have to go to another city. I'm in a small town with a tiny library with that is all that's available to me.

If anyone has any other info that would be great. It seems this may have been more of a invention by the church astromers.

Michael