Brett Edward Whalen
Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: Harvard University Press
Pages: 336
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Brett Whalen explores the compelling belief that Christendom would spread to every corner of the earth before the end of time. During the High Middle Ages - an era of crusade, mission, and European expansion - ;the Western followers of Rome imagined the future conversion of Jews, Muslims, pagans, and Eastern Christians into one fold of God's people, assembled under the authority of the Roman Church.

    eISBN: 978-0-674-05480-6
    Subjects: History, Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[vi])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [vii]-[viii])
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)

    In the Gospels, Christ predicts to his disciples that the end of days is approaching and will bring about a great tribulation marked by war, pestilence, famine, and the appearance of false prophets.¹ He also declares that his message of salvation will be preached throughout the entire world and will reach all of its peoples before the consummation of history. Although this promised course of events did not come about as quickly as his followers were no doubt expecting, subsequent generations of believers continued to anticipate the eventual fulfillment of their messiah’s words. Over the following centuries, a distinctly Christian...

  4. 1 Christendom and the Origins of Papal Monarchy
    (pp. 9-41)

    In 991, a council of Frankish clergymen assembled at the Church of Saint Basle near Reims to resolve a bitter dispute over the city’s episcopal see that had begun three years earlier with the death of the previous arch bishop, Adalberon. The king of West Francia, Hugh Capet (r. 987–996), had appointed a cleric named Arnulf to replace the deceased prelate.¹ By doing do, Hugh passed over Adalberon’s preferred successor, Gerbert of Aurillac, a notable scholar at the cathedral school in Reims. Arnulf, however, was subsequently accused of conspiring with his uncle, Duke Charles of Lorraine, against the king,...

  5. 2 The Chosen People and the Enemies of God
    (pp. 42-71)

    On 15 July 1099, the Christian warrior-pilgrims of the First Crusade captured Jerusalem from its Muslim rulers. By this point, the bulk of the army had spent roughly three years struggling to reach their goal, facing starvation, disease, and the perils of combat. After besieging the holy city without success, the crusaders spent three days fasting, praying, and carrying out a ritual procession around Jerusalem’s walls before they renewed their assault. This time, they breached the defenses. Describing the bloody sack of the city, which he witnessed firsthand, Provençal cleric Raymond d’Aguilers declared: “It was truly by the just judgment...

  6. 3 Reformist Apocalypticism and the Battlefield of History
    (pp. 72-99)

    In 1144, Western Christians confronted yet another setback for their crusading fortunes when Islamic forces recaptured the city of Edessa. Responding to this disconcerting turn of events, Pope Eugene III (r. 1145–1153) summoned a new armed expedition to aid the beleaguered crusader principalities of the East. To do so, the pope deliberately invoked the memory of his predecessor Urban II, who had first incited the “sons of the Roman Church from every part of the world” to fight for the liberation of the Holy Land.¹ Echoing the call for the First Crusade, Eugene described the recent tribulations caused by...

  7. 4 Joachim of Fiore and the Sabbath Age
    (pp. 100-124)

    Inspired visionary, dangerous heretic, social revolutionary—Abbot Joachim of Fiore has been many things to many people.¹ Joachim is best known for his division of history into three stages that were modeled after the Trinity: the age of the Father, from Adam until Christ; the age of the Son, from Christ until around the abbot’s own time; and the future age of the Holy Spirit, an earthly Sabbath that would transform the world into an irenic kingdom for the faithful followers of the Lord. This final historical era, the abbot proclaimed, would be “without war, without scandal, without worry or...

  8. 5 The Shepherd of the World
    (pp. 125-148)

    In a sermon commemorating the life of Pope Innocent III not long after the pontiff had died on 16 July 1216, the English Cistercian monk Matthew of Rievaulx opened his paean by declaring that this “vicar of Christ, by God’s favor, completely restored the schismatic Eastern Church—namely Constantinople with its territories, which comprised the greatest part of Christendom and had been blinded by the shadows of its errors for three hundred years—to the bosom of the universal Church, bringing it to obey the highest pontiff.”¹ Matthew was referring here to the unexpected outcome of the Fourth Crusade, which...

  9. 6 Crusaders, Missionaries, and Prophets
    (pp. 149-176)

    While campaigning in Egypt during the Fifth Crusade, James of Vitry believed that he was witnessing the fulfillment of ancient prophecies. Writing in 1221 to Pope Innocent III’s successor, Honorius III (r. 1216–1227), the newly elected bishop of Acre described several marvelous works that were circulating in the crusader camp during and after the siege of Damietta two years earlier. In his correspondence with the pope, he included lengthy excerpts from letters that described the recent conquests of “David, the king of the Indians, who is popularly called Prester John.”¹ Rumors of King David’s recent victories against infidel peoples...

  10. 7 Contesting the End of Days
    (pp. 177-203)

    During his frequent travels, the Franciscan chronicler Salimbene of Adam crossed paths more than once with Gerard of Borgo San Donnino, a fervent believer in Joachim of Fiore’s apocalyptic schemes. The first occasion was at Provins in 1248, not long after King Louis IX had embarked for Acre while on his crusading expedition to Egypt. According to Salimbene, Gerard and another Franciscan friar named Bartholomew, both of whom Salimbene described as “totally Joachite,” possessed theCommentary on Jeremiahamong other books. Their reading of these prophetic works led them to the conclusion that Louis’s crusade would utterly fail. Subsequent events,...

  11. 8 The New Jerusalem and the Transfiguration of Christendom
    (pp. 204-227)

    Five years after the Second Council of Lyons, the Franciscan exegete and theologian Peter John Olivi tackled a source of growing contention within his order, namely, the role of poverty in Franciscan life. Olivi, who had trained at the University of Paris before returning to his native Provence, approached this problem with scholastic rigor and remarkable imagination about the role of the Franciscans in history. In his tractOn the Poor Use,he insisted that the restricted usage—as opposed to outright ownership—of goods formed an integral part of the Franciscan vow. Saint Francis, Olivi declared, had come toward...

  12. Epilogue
    (pp. 228-232)

    In 1539, on the feast of Corpus Christi, a group of Tlaxcaltecas Indians in central Mexico performed an elaborate play with the oversight of the Franciscan missionaries living among them. The chronicler Torbio Motolinía transcribed a letter by one of those friars, who related how the natives decided to “stage the conquest of Jerusalem, a prediction which, we pray, God may fulfill in our day.”¹ The participants erected a mock version of the holy city, with some of the natives inside playing the role of the Muslim sultan and his followers. Outside, the Tlaxcaltecas divided themselves into three armies: the...

  13. Abbreviations
    (pp. 235-236)
  14. Notes
    (pp. 237-311)
  15. Select Bibliography
    (pp. 312-318)
  16. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 319-320)
  17. Index
    (pp. 321-328)