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A Kingdom of StargazersAstrology and Authority in the Late Medieval Crown of Aragon$
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Michael A. Ryan

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449840

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449840.001.0001

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Prophecy, Knowledge, and Authority

Prophecy, Knowledge, and Authority

Divining the Future and Expecting the End of Days

(p.21) 1 Prophecy, Knowledge, and Authority
A Kingdom of Stargazers

Michael A. Ryan

Cornell University Press

This chapter investigates the fundamental disjunct that plagued the perception of the divinatory arts throughout the Middle Ages. On the one hand, divination of future events was legitimate insofar as prophecy was seen as divine revelation. On the other hand, divination achieved through magical or occult means was illicit, even dangerous. It first considers three premier theological authorities: Augustine of Hippo, the thirteenth-century Dominican philosopher and theologian Thomas Aquinas, and his contemporary William of Auvergne. It discusses their particular issues with, and condemnations of, astrology and the occult. The chapter then turns to the matter of prophecy. It returns to the early Middle Ages and Iberia with a brief discussion of Beatus of Liébana, one of the most important medieval writers on apocalyptic matters. Next, it examines a renowned figure in the history of prophecy and apocalyptic expectations, the twelfth-century Calabrian abbot Joachim of Fiore. Finally, it analyzes the lesser known, yet important, late medieval apocalyptic visionary John of Rupescissa and a member of the royal family of the Crown of Aragon, Pere l'Infant, both of whom were influenced profoundly by Joachim's writings.

Keywords:   divinatory arts, occult, Augustine of Hippo, Thomas Aquinas, William of Auvergne, prophecy, Beatus of Liébana, Joachim of Fiore, John of Rupescissa, Pere l'Infant

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