Prophecy, Alchemy, and the End of Time: John of Rupecissa in the Late Middle Agesby Leah DeVun
Pub. Date: 03/03/2009
Publisher: Columbia University Press
In the middle of the fourteenth century, the Franciscan friar John of Rupescissa sent a dramatic warning to his followers: the last days were coming; the apocalypse was near. Deemed insane by the Christian church, Rupescissa had spent more than a decade confined to prisonsin one case wrapped in chains and locked under a staircaseyet ill treatment… See more details below
In the middle of the fourteenth century, the Franciscan friar John of Rupescissa sent a dramatic warning to his followers: the last days were coming; the apocalypse was near. Deemed insane by the Christian church, Rupescissa had spent more than a decade confined to prisonsin one case wrapped in chains and locked under a staircaseyet ill treatment could not silence the friar's apocalyptic message.
Religious figures who preached the end times were hardly rare in the late Middle Ages, but Rupescissa's teachings were unique. He claimed that knowledge of the natural world, and alchemy in particular, could act as a defense against the plagues and wars of the last days. His melding of apocalyptic prophecy and quasi-scientific inquiry gave rise to a new genre of alchemical writing and a novel cosmology of heaven and earth. Most important, the friar's research represented a remarkable convergence between science and religion.
In order to understand scientific knowledge today, Leah DeVun asks that we revisit Rupescissa's life and the critical events of his agethe Black Death, the Hundred Years' War, the Avignon Papacythrough his eyes. Rupescissa treated alchemy as medicine (his work was the conceptual forerunner of pharmacology) and represented the emerging technologies and views that sought to combat famine, plague, religious persecution, and war. The advances he pioneered, along with the exciting strides made by his contemporaries, shed critical light on later developments in medicine, pharmacology, and chemistry.
Columbia University Press
- Columbia University Press
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- New Edition
- Product dimensions:
- 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)
- Age Range:
- 18 Years
Table of Contents
List of IllustrationsAcknowledgments1. Introduction2. The Proving of Christendom3. John of Rupescissa's Vision of the End4. Alchemy in Theory and Practice5. Artists and the Art6. Metaphor and Alchemy7. The End of Nature8. ConclusionBibliographyNotesIndex
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