Andreas Osiander and Copernicus’ Revolutions

Andreas Osiander

Andreas Osiander

On October 17, 1552, German Lutheran theologian Andreas Osiander passed away. Osiander published a corrected edition of the Vulgate Bible in 1522 and oversaw the publication of the book De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the revolution of the celestial spheres) by Copernicus in 1543. Osiander pursued mathematics as a hobby and editted Cardano‘s Artis Magnae, which introduced the theory of algebraic equations.

Andreas Osiander studied at the University of Ingolstadt and was ordained as a priest in 1520 in Nuremberg. As a Hebrew tutor, Osiander also began working in the same year and he was appointed to the church of St. Lorenz in Nuremberg. Osiander declared himself to be a Lutheranian and also played a major role in converting Albert of Prussia, Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights to Lutheranism. In 1549, Andreas Osiander became professor of the newly founded Königsberg University, a position he kept until the end of his life.

In 1543, Andreas Osiander oversaw the publication of the book De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the revolution of the celestial spheres) by Copernicus. Osiander also added a preface which suggested that the Copernicus’ described model is not necessarily true or probable, however he pointed out that they might be usedul for computational purposes. Copernicus on the otherhand might not have been aware of this addition to his work. This caused that many readers thought that Copernicus himself had not believed that his hypothesis was actually true and that Copernicus himself had written the preface since Osiander never signed it.

Later on, Osiander published controversial disputation, setting out that justification by faith was instilled in humanity by Christ’s divinity, a view contrary to those of Martin Luther and John Calvin. Osiander believed that the righteousness of a believer was accomplished by the indwelling of God and thus, God finds one righteous because Christ is in that person.

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