Prophecy, Alchemy, and the End of Time: John of Rupescissa by Leah DeVun

By Leah DeVun

In the midst of the fourteenth century, the Franciscan friar John of Rupescissa despatched a dramatic caution to his fans: the final days have been coming; the apocalypse used to be close to. Deemed insane via the Christian church, Rupescissa had spent greater than a decade constrained to prisons—in one case wrapped in chains and locked less than a staircase—yet unwell remedy couldn't silence the friar's apocalyptic message.

Religious figures who preached the top instances have been infrequently infrequent within the overdue center a long time, yet Rupescissa's teachings have been designated. He claimed that wisdom of the wildlife, and alchemy specifically, may act as a safety opposed to the plagues and wars of the final days. His melding of apocalyptic prophecy and quasi-scientific inquiry gave upward thrust to a brand new style of alchemical writing and a singular cosmology of heaven and earth. most crucial, the friar's learn represented a notable convergence among technology and religion.

In order to appreciate clinical wisdom at the present time, Leah DeVun asks that we revisit Rupescissa's lifestyles and the severe occasions of his age—the Black dying, the Hundred Years' struggle, the Avignon Papacy—through his eyes. Rupescissa handled alchemy as medication (his paintings was once the conceptual forerunner of pharmacology) and represented the rising applied sciences and perspectives that sought to strive against famine, plague, spiritual persecution, and struggle. The advances he pioneered, in addition to the fascinating strides made via his contemporaries, shed severe mild on later advancements in medication, pharmacology, and chemistry.

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Additional info for Prophecy, Alchemy, and the End of Time: John of Rupescissa in the Late Middle Ages

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Source: St. Gall, Kantonsbibliothek (Vadiana), MS 342, p. 13. indd 25 12/9/08 1:00:31 PM t h e p r ov i ng of c hristend om sensational predictions finally provoked Franciscan authorities to act, but no record of his offense has survived. At Figeac, Rupescissa was unceremoniously thrown in the mud, initiating his more than twenty years in prison, during which he experienced a version of the apocalyptic horrors he was to predict for all of humanity in his later writings. 48 In his first year of captivity, Rupescissa was restrained in irons and granted little contact with his Franciscan captors.

Jerome’s calculation, based upon a reading of Daniel 12 (subtracting 1,290 from the 1,335 days), set the time at a brief forty-five days; Jerome also suggested that it would be a time for penance rather than celebration. The period of fortyfive (or sometimes forty) days reappears in the works of Bede, Haimo of Auxerre, and Peter Lombard, although it eventually became a time of rest rather than of penance. 25 In the late thirteenth century, however, this assumption of brevity was challenged. 26 Second, in 1298 Peter Olivi advanced a much bolder prediction of the millennium’s duration.

64 Rupescissa’s prophecies were also swiftly translated into vernacular versions. 65 The traffic of international visitors through the papal palace likely aided the circulation of Rupescissa’s manuscripts, as well as the creation of such translations. Contemporary chroniclers’ judgment of Rupescissa was mixed, but at least some document sympathy for the Franciscan and his prophecies. €. sober, and honest” Rupescissa was held in prison for his predictions, leading many to wonder whether his words were inspired by some “pythonic or evil spirit” or the genuine spirit of prophecy.

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