Can anything valuable be gleaned from reading old books?
Brother Guy Consolmagno, the Jesuit astronomer who directs the Vatican’s observatories in Italy and Arizona, addressed this topic at last weekend’s Interpreter Foundation conference on science and Mormonism. After describing the foundational importance of Nicolaus Copernicus’ 1543 book “De revolutionibus” to our modern understanding of the solar system, he turned to a fellow planetary scientist in the audience and asked whether she had read it. She admitted that she hadn’t. Next, he asked a philosopher sitting in the audience whether he had read Plato’s “Republic.” He had.