Department of History



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February 9, 2017
Jay Rubenstein (University of Tennessee, Knoxville)

"Crusade, Islam, and the Middle Ages' Greatest Prophet, Joachim of Fiore"

Joachim of Fiore (c. 1135 - 1202) reinvented the study of prophecy and history in the Middle Ages. In place of the traditional "Six Ages of History," Joachim divided the story of humanity into three overlapping parts, each corresponding to a person of the Holy Trinity. The Third Age, as he envisioned it, would be a time of peace, the Church of Rome renewed and the earth governed by spiritual men. To reach that halcyon state, however, Christendom had first to pass through a final persecution at the hands of Antichrist, a terrible series of wars that Joachim himself believed lay in the very near future. Using Joachim's own biblical commentaries and diagrams, Professor Rubenstein will show how intricately connected this prophetic model was to Joahcim's interpretation of Islam and the crusade movement. He will also suggest that Joahcim's modern interpreters have emphasized the vision of peace at the expense of what was the crucial militant, bellicose moral of his his prophetic story.