Scholarship has come to value the uncertainties haunting early modern knowledge cultures; indeed, awareness of the fragility and plurality of knowledge is now offered as a key element for understanding early modern science as a whole. Yet early modern actors never questioned the possibility of certainty itself and never objected to the notion that truth is out there, universal, and therefore safe from human manipulation. This book investigates how early modern actors managed not to succumb to postmodern relativism, despite the increasing uncertainties and blatant disagreements about the nature of God, Man, and the Universe. An international and interdisciplinary team of experts in fields ranging from the history of science to theology and the history of ideas analyses a number of practices that were central to maintaining and functionalizing the notion of absolute truth. Through such an interdisciplinary research the book shows how certainty about truth could be achieved, and how early modern society recognized the credibility of a wide plethora of actors in differentiating fields of knowledge.
"This remarkable collection of essays explores the processes of negotiation underlying the construction of truth in early modern Catholicism. [...] The essays gathered in this volume, as well as the excellent introduction by the editors, make a significant contribution to the history of early modern Catholicism and its relations to Europe and the world; to the history of science, and of its connection with religion; and to the expanding historiography on early modern uncertainty and doubt."
- Marco Faini, Research Institute of the University of Bucharest - ICUB, Renaissance and Reformation / Renaissance et Reforme 44.3 (2021)