Since the original publication of this title, the twelfth-century Calabrian Abbot Joachim of Fiore has been accorded an increasingly central position in the history of medieval thought and culture. In this classic work Marjorie Reeves shows the wide extent of Joachimist influence from the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries and demonstrates the continuity between medieval and Renaissance thought in the field of prophecy.
Reeves pinpoints some of the most original aspects of Joachim’s theology of history and traces his reputation and influence through succeeding centuries. She also explains how his vision of a final age of the spirit in history became a powerful force in shaping expectations of the future in Western Europe. The book traces in detail the development of the three great images in which these expectations came to be focused: New Spiritual Men, Angelic Pope, and Last World Emperor. In addition, Reeves illuminates how the pervading influence of Joachim’s concepts of a future golden age forms the basis for an understanding of prophetic visions in later centuries.
“In a work of encyclopedic proportions, the fruit of thirty years of study and research, Reeves presents a survey of Joachimism from the early thirteenth century down to Renaissance and Reformation times, to the day when intelligent and educated men ceased to take prophecy seriously. . . . One would be hard put to pinpoint any important ‘prophet,’ writer, or interpreter of history within the five centuries studied who has been overlooked or slighted.” — The Catholic Historical Review
“Reeve’s book is an impressive demonstration of her mastery of an enormous subject: nothing less than the content, spread, and transformations of Joachim of Flora’s ideas during five centuries. No longer can anyone relegate Joachim’s influence to the realm of esoteric. Reeves shows that he shaped the views not only of heretics and Franciscan Spirituals but also of solid middle-of-the-road friars: Franciscan, Dominican, and Augustinian . . . and even of Jesuits and Protestants. . . . [N]o student of Joachism will in future be able to neglect Reeve’s work: it is now an essential starting point for research about Joachim and his followers.” — Speculum
“Reeves must be congratulated on her exploration of a complicated and difficult subject. Her book sheds light on a great many aspects of medieval and early modern history.” — The English Historical Review