Quotations by Kepler, Johannes


We do not ask for what useful purpose the birds do sing, for song is their pleasure since they were created for singing. Similarly, we ought not to ask why the human mind troubles to fathom the secrets of the heavens…. The diversity of the phenomena of Nature is so great, and the treasures hidden in the heavens so rich, precisely in order that the human mind shall never be lacking in fresh nourishment.

Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) German astronomer
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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I much prefer the sharpest criticism of a single intelligent man to the thoughtless approval of the masses.

Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) German astronomer
(Attributed)
Added on 28-Jan-15 | Last updated 28-Jan-15
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Indeed I reply in a single word to the sentiments of the saints on these questions about nature; in theology, to be sure, the force of authorities is to be weighed, in philosophy, however, that of causes. Therefore, a saint is Lactantius, who denied the rotundity of the earth; a saint is Augustine, who, admitting the rotundity, yet denied the antipodes; worthy of sainthood is the dutiful performance of moderns who, admitting the meagreness of the earth, yet deny its motion. But truth is more saintly for me, who demonstrate by philosophy, without violating my due respect for the doctors of the church, that the earth is both round and inhabited at the antipodes, and of the most despicable size, and finally is moved among the stars.

Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) German astronomer
Astronomi Opera Omnia, Vol. 1 (1858) [ed. Frisch (1858), tr. Burtt (1925)]
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He who will please the crowd and for the sake of the most ephemeral renown will either proclaim those things which nature does not display or even will publish genuine miracles of nature without regard to deeper causes is a spiritually corrupt person.

Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) German astronomer
De fundamentis astrologiae certioribus, Foreward (1601)
Added on 21-Jan-15 | Last updated 21-Jan-15
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Geometry is one and eternal shining in the mind of God. That share in it accorded to humans is one of the reasons that humanity is the image of God.

Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) German astronomer
The Harmonies of the World [Harmonices Mundi], Book 3, ch. 1 (1618)

Alt. trans.:
  • "Geometry, co-eternal with God and shining in the divine Mind, gave God the pattern ... by which he laid out the world so that it might be best and most beautiful and finally most like the Creator."
  • "Geometry is one and eternal shining in the mind of God. That share in it accorded to men is one of the reasons that Man is the image of God."
Added on 4-Feb-15 | Last updated 4-Feb-15
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Since geometry is co-eternal with the divine mind before the birth of things, God himself served as his own model in creating the world (for what is there in God which is not God?), and he with his own image reached down to humanity.

Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) German astronomer
The Harmonies of the World [Harmonices Mundi], Book 4, ch. 1 (1618)
Added on 12-Feb-15 | Last updated 12-Feb-15
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Now because 18 months ago the first dawn, three months ago broad daylight, but a very few days ago the full sun of the most highly remarkable spectacle has risen — nothing holds me back. I can give myself up to the sacred frenzy, I can have the insolence to make a full confession to mortal men that I have stolen the golden vessel of the Egyptians to make from them a tabernacle for my God far from the confines of the land of Egypt. If you forgive me I shall rejoice; if you are angry, I shall bear it; I am indeed casting the die and writing the book, either for my contemporaries or for posterity to read, it matters not which: let the book await its reader for a hundred years; God himself has waited six thousand years for his work to be seen.

Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) German astronomer
The Harmonies of the World [Harmonices Mundi], Book 5, Introduction (1618)

Alt. trans.:
  • "It may well wait a century for a reader, as God has waited six thousand years for an observer." [in David Brewster, The Martyrs of Science; or, the Lives of Galileo, Tycho Brahe, and Kepler (1841)]
  • "It may be well to wait a century for a reader, as God has waited six thousand years for an observer."
  • "I feel carried away and possessed by an unutterable rapture over the divine spectacle of heavenly harmony ... I write a book for the present time, or for posterity. It is all the same to me. It may wait a hundred years for its readers, as God has also waited six thousand years for an onlooker." [in S Krantz and B Blank, Calculus: Multivariable (2006)]
  • "I am stealing the golden vessels of the Egyptians to build a tabernacle to my God from them, far far away from the boundaries of Egypt. If you forgive me, I shall rejoice.; if you are enraged with me, I shall bear it. See, I cast the die, and I write the book. Whether it is to be read by the people of the present or of the future makes no difference: let it await its reader for a hundred years, if God himself has stood ready for six thousand years for one to study him."
Added on 18-Feb-15 | Last updated 18-Feb-15
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