ESSWE home

ESSWE online: event details

Revisiting Early Modern Prophecies (c.1500-c.1815)

  • 2014-06-26
  • 2014-06-28
  • London
The Reformation dramatically changed Europe’s religious and political landscapes within a few decades. The Protestant emphasis on translating the Scriptures into the vernacular and the developments of the printing press rapidly gave increased visibility to the most obscure parts of the Bible. Similarly, Spanish and Italian mystics promoted a spiritual regeneration of the Catholic Church during the Counter-Reformation. Prophecies, whether of biblical, ancient or popular origin, as well as their interpretations gradually began reaching a wider audience, sparking controversies throughout all levels of society across Europe. In recent years, new research has eroded the long standing historiographical consensus of an increasing secularisation accelerated by the Enlightenment, which allegedly cast away beliefs in prophecies and miracles as outmoded. The multiplication of case studies on millenarian movements suggests a radically different picture, yet many questions remain. How did prophecies evolve with the politico-religious conjunctions of their time? Who read them? How seriously were they taken?

This three-day, international conference will aim to answer these questions by bringing together scholars from around the world to reassess the importance of prophecies from the Reformation to the French Revolution and beyond. We therefore invite papers and panel proposals on prophecy in Europe and the Mediterranean world between approximately 1500 and 1800. Possible topics may include, but are not limited to: apocalyptic predictions, the Antichrist, millenarianism, irenicism, wonders and miracles, astrology and divination, ecumenical movements, religious utopias, mystical networks, enthusiasts and female mystics.‌

Conference Programme

26 June

09.00-9.45 Registration + Coffee

9.45-10.00 Welcome



Vincent Masse (Dalhousie) – ‘Foreign News and Prophecies: The Dreams of the Great Turk in French News Bulletins, 1529-1614’

Justin Meggitt (Cambridge) – ‘Prophecy, Early Quakers and Constructions of Islam in the Seventeenth Century’

Sinan Akilli (Ankara) – ‘The Antichrist-ian Turk in Seventeenth- Century English Public Imagination’


Courtney Kneupper (Mississippi) – ‘The Prophecy of Dietrich von Zengg and its Habsburg Connections’

Jonathan Green (North Dakota) – ‘Dietrich von Zengg in Print’

Zhou Shiting (Beijing) – ‘Antichrist and Animals: Images reflected in the Protestant Woodcuts during the Reformation’


Lucio Biasiori (Pisa) – “A Letter has been sent by the Master of the Hospitallers…”: The European Circulation of a Prophecy (from the 14th to 18th century)

Eduardo Fernández Guerrero (Madrid) – ‘The Apocalypis Nova: Notes on the Circulation of a Renaissance Prophecy’

Luis Filipe Silverio Lima (São Paulo) – ‘Expectations, Experiences and Imperial Prophecies: “the learned Jew”, “the famous Jesuit”, “a poor despised Remnant”, and the Millenarian Connections in the Seventeenth Century’

11.30-11.45 Coffee


Panel 4 (LG01) ENGLAND 1

Avner Shamir (Copenhagen) – ‘Predicting Bible Burning in Reformation England: between Reality and Propaganda’

Coral Stoakes (Cambridge) – ‘Catholic Apocalypticism in Post Reformation England, 1558-1606’

Adam Morton (Oxford) – ‘Marking Antichrist – Prophetic Sight and Protestant Visual Culture in England’

Panel 5 (NAB 314) ASTROLOGY 1

H Darrel Rutkin (Erlangen) – ‘Astrology, Prophecy and Politics: Orazio Morandi’s Astrological-Political Think-Tank in Urban VIII’s Rome’

Simon Dagenais (Montréal) – ‘The Art of Trying to Be (almost) always Right: Astrological Predictions in the Almanac of Mathieu Laensbergh (1636-1820)’

Steven van den Broecke (Ghent) – ‘Between Truth and Practicality. An Initial Exploration of Astrologers’ Self-Perceptions in the Enlightenment’


Lorenzo Comensoli Antonini (Padova) – ‘Prophecies in Rome at the Time of Gregory XIII and Sixtus V’

Lorenza Gianfrancesco (Royal Holloway, London) – ‘Prophecy in Naples’

Marios Hatzopoulos (Athens) – ‘Sons of Defeated Saints: Prophecy and Nationalism in Early Modern Greece and the Balkans’

1.15-2.15 Lunch



Andreas Pietsch (Muenster) – ‘Using and Debating Prophecy in the Netherlands (c. 1600)’

Jetze Touber (Utrecht) – ‘Melchizedek: Prophecy, Biblical Interpretation and Pastoral Concerns in the Dutch Republic around 1700’

Mirjam de Baar (Groningen) – ‘The Seventeenth-Century Dutch Prophet Johannes Rothe (1628-1702): Religious and Political Agitator’

Jo Spaans (Utrecht) – ‘Taming Prophecy in the Early Eighteenth- Century Netherlands’

Panel 8 (NAB 314) PORTUGAL

Jacqueline Hermann (Rio de Janeiro) – ‘Between Religion and Politics: D. Sebastião and the Case of the Venetian Imposter’

Marcus de Martini and Noeli Dutra Rossatto (Santa Maria) – ‘Millenarianism in the Prophetical Works of Father Antonio Vieira’

Ricardo Ventura (Lisbon) – ‘Rewriting and Drawing Prophecy in the End of the XVIIth century : Félix da Costa’s Liber Vnicus’

4.15-4.30 Coffee


Panel 9 (LG01) ENGLAND 2

Glyn Parry (Roehampton) – ‘Prophecies and Responses in Elizabethan Politics’

Nick McDowell (Exeter) – ‘Prophecy and the Praise of Folly: from Erasmus to the English Civil Wars’

Kevin Killeen (York) – ‘Selling the Poor for a Pair of Shoes (Amos 2:6): Property and Prophecy in Early Modern Thought’

Panel 10 (NAB 314) GERMANY 1

Christopher Martinuzzi (Pisa) – ‘Prophecy and Revelation. Thomas Müntzer’s Correspondence in the Last Months of 1524-25’

Matthias Riedl (Budapest) – ‘Thomas Müntzer: The Prophet of Revolution’

Michael Driedger (Ontario) – ‘Revisiting Anabaptist Münster: Shifting the Frames for Interpreting an Infamous Episode in the History of Early Modern Prophecy and Violence’

Panel 11 (NAB 305) TRANSALPINE

Maria Elena Severini (Florence) – ‘«Quello che è oggidì nascosto col tempo verrà in luce»: Prophecy and renovatio mundi in Loys Le Roy and Giordano Bruno’

Michael Becker (Heidelberg) – ‘Alberico Gentili and his Unpublished Treatise “De Antichristo”’

6.00-6.15 Break

6.15-7.30 KEYNOTE 1 (LG01)

Irena Backus (Geneva) – ‘New Perspectives on Biblical Prophecies from Luther to Leibniz’

8.00 Dinner

27 June

08.30-9.00. Coffee


Panel 12 (LG01) SPAIN

Maria Jordan (Yale) – ‘Between Politics, Religion and the Personal for the Street Prophets of Early Modern Spain’

Monika Frohnapfel (Mainz) – ‘Prophecies in Early Modern Spain. Religious Women and the Spanish Inquisition’

Mercedes Garciá-Arenal (Madrid) – ‘The Uses of Prophecy: Eschatology, Dissimulation and Propaganda among the Converted Muslims of 16th century Spain’


Vladimir Urbanek (Prague) – ‘Making of a Prophet: Mikuláš Drabík, Jan Amos Comenius and the Re-Contextualization of Prophetic Texts’

Emese Muntan (Budapest) – ‘The Relationship between the Theological and the Political in the Reformed Funeral Orations of Mid-Seventeenth Century Transylvania’

Theo Pronk (Rotterdam) – ‘War and Peace in Shadow of the Antichrist: the Nuremberg Conference of 1650’


Deborah Thorpe (York) – ‘Reinventing the Rymour: The Manuscript Tradition of Thomas of Erceldoune’

David Finnegan (Warwick School) – ‘Prophecy as Consolation: Irish Catholic and British Protestant Understandings of Fortune’s Wheel in the Seventeenth Century’

Julian Goodare (Edinburgh) – ‘Witchcraft and Prophecy in Scotland'

10.30-10.45 Coffee


Panel 15 (LG01) GERMANY 2

Walter Sparn (Erlangen) – ‘Apocalyptic Time-Order and Political Prophecies in 17th C. Germany: the Case of Caspar Heunisch (1684)’

Adelisa Malena (Venice) – ‘Female Prophecy in the Gynaeceum Haeretico Fanaticum by J.H. Feustking (1704)’

Xenia von Tippelskirch (Berlin) – ‘“The shepherd’s bag”. Separatists in the Western Part of the Holy Roman Empire and their Prophecies (1700-1750)’

Panel 16 (NAB 314) ‘The Bible and Prophecy in Early Nineteenth-Century Thought’ (Chair: Dr Michael Ledger-Lomas, KCL, London)

Theodor Dunkelgrün (CRASSH, Cambridge) – ‘Prophecy and Authorship: Closing the Pentateuch, 1500-1815’

Alison Knight (CRASSH, Cambridge) – ‘Do I Know that my Redeemer Liveth? Job 19:25-26 and Prophecy in Anglican Thought’

Gareth Atkins (CRASSH, Cambridge) – ‘“The Ships of Tarshish”: Naval Power, Prophecy and Israel in British thought, c. 1600-1815’

Panel 17 (NAB 305) HUGUENOTS

Leslie Tuttle (Kansas) – ‘Apocalyptic Prophecy in the Huguenot Diaspora’

David van der Linden (Rotterdam) – ‘To Believe, or not to Believe: Debating Prophecies and Miracles in the Dutch Refuge’

Olaf Simons (Gotha) – ‘The Marquis de Langallerie and his Plans as Genralissimus of the Apocalypse’

12.15-12.30 Coffee


Panel 18 (LG01) ENGLAND 3

Vittoria Feola (Vienna) – ‘Prophecies as Antiquities. The Antiquarian and Political Uses of Elias Ashmole’s Collection of Prophetical Works’

Jessica Sharkey (Norwich) – ‘Apparitions of the Cardinal: Thomas Wolsey and the Politics of the 1640s’

Panel 19 (NAB 314) FRANCE 1

Katherine Stratton (Dalhousie) – ‘The Prophecies and Politics of Guillaume Postel’s Three Wise Men’

Natalia Obukowicz (Warsaw) – ‘Lamentation of Melusine. Polemical Use of Prophecy during the French Wars of Religion (1562-1598)’

Panel 20 (NAB 305) ORGANISERS

Lionel Laborie (Goldsmiths) - ‘Prophetic Movements in 18th- Century France’

Ariel Hessayon (Goldsmiths) – ‘Late 18th Century Prophecy in Contexts: The Illuminati, Theosophical Society and Separatist Swedenborgian New Jerusalem Church’

1.30-2.15 Lunch


Panel 21 (LG01) ENGLAND 4

Crawford Gribben (Belfast) – ‘Revolution and Apocalypse: John Owen and the Re-Visioning of Puritan Eschatology’

Rachel Adcock (Loughborough) – ‘Baptist Women’s Experiential Writings and Fifth Monarchist Prophecy

Catie Gill (Loughborough) – ‘“How doth all excess abound” (George Fox, A Warning to all in this Proud City of London [1654]): Quaker Prophecy 1650-1665’

Carme Font Paz (Barcelona) – ‘“Deare Reader, thou mayst marvell’: Seventeenth-century Prophecy and the Quest for Authorship


Fabian Persson (Lund) – ‘Opportunity or Threat? Early Modern Political Prophecies’

Alexander van der Haven (Haifa) – ‘Prophecy, Conversion and “Religion” in the Letters of Benedict Sebastian Sperling’

Jurgen Beyer (Tartu) – ‘Prophecies as Narrative Tradition’

Ekaterina Emelyantseva Koller (Bangor) – ‘Prophecy and Agency: St. Petersburg’ Prophetess Ekaterina Tatarinova between European Mystical Networks and Russian Peasant Mystical Traditions’

4.15-4.30 Coffee


Panel 23 (LG01) ENGLAND 5

Andrew Crome (Manchester) – ‘The Neglected Role of Prophecy in the “Jew Bill” Controversy of 1753’

Warren Johnston (Algoma) – ‘Apocalypse in the pulpit: Thanksgiving and the End in eighteenth-century England’

Jonathan Downing (Oxford) – ‘“I was carried away in a dream” - Prophets, Imagined Spaces, and the Biblical Visionary Mode’

Panel 24 (NAB 314) ASTROLOGY 2

Jacques Halbronn (Paris) – ‘Nostradamus and the Eclipse of April 1567’

Mike A. Zuber (Amsterdam) – ‘‘‘God’s Extraordinary Messengers”: Comets, New Prophets and Johann Jacob Zimmermann’s Millenarianism’

Ilaria Ampolini (Trento) – ‘Comets and Catastrophes in the Age of Enlightenment: between Prophecies and Previsions’

Panel 25 (NAB 305) ITALY 1

Ovanes Akopyan (Warwick) – ‘Praenotio vs Prophetia. Giovan Francesco Pico della Mirandola and the Forms of Supernatural in the Renaissance’

Francesco Lucioli (Cambridge) – ‘A Rain of Bloody Crosses: Prophecy in Giovan Francesco Pico della Mirandola’s Staurostichon’

Manuela Bragagnolo (Lyon) – ‘Divination, Physiognomy and Religion in Late Renaissance Italy. The "Natural Physiognomy" (Fisionomia Naturale) of Giovanni Ingegneri’

6.00-6.15 Break

6.15-7.30 KEYNOTE 2 (LG01)

Nigel Smith (Princeton) – ‘The Grammar of Prophecy: By Numbers or by Narrative.’

8.00 Dinner

28 June

08.30-9.00. Coffee


Panel 28 (NAB 305) SWITZERLAND

Fabien Brändle (Saint-Ursanne) – ‘“Woe upon the Bloodsuckers!” Prophecies and Popular Politics in Early Modern Catholic Central Switzerland, 1500-1700’

Elisabetta Lurgo (Turino) – ‘The Heterodox Prophet Iacopo Brocardo between Italy and Europe’
Sundar Henny (Basel) – ‘Self-Fulfilling Prophet? The Merging of Prophet and Prophecy in the Writings of Zurich Pastor Johann Jakob Redinger (1619-1688)


Liam Temple (Northumbria) – ‘“A neerer, a more familiar, and beyond all expression comfortable conversation with God”: Attitudes to Mystical Theology and the Medieval ‘Mystics’ in Restoration England’

Michael Riordan (Cambridge) – ‘Lady Abden’s “Last revelation” and Quietist Prophecy in Eighteenth Century Scotland’

Martin Greig (Ryerson) – ‘Elijah in Dorset: Prophecy in Early 18th Century Rural England’

Panel 27 (NAB 314) ITALY 2

Federico Barbierato (Verona) – ‘Prophetism, Millenarianism and Mysticism in the Republic of Venice (Seventeenth-Eighteenth Centuries). Research Paths’

Eva Fontana Castelli (Milan) – ‘Niccolò Paccanari, a “False” Prophet in Late Eighteenth-Century Rome’

Claudio Lorenzini (Udine) – ‘Stones, Woods and Blood. The Messiah of Sappada (Venetian Alps) Revisited (1859-1860)’

10.30-10.45 Coffee


Panel 29 (LG01) GERMANY 3

Leigh Penman (Queensland) – ‘“An Antidote to this World’s Confusion”: A New Prophet in Seventeenth Century Europe’

Andrew Weeks (Illinois State) – ‘Prophecy as an Approach to the Meaning of History: Quirinus Kuhlmann’s Kühlpsalter and Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon’

Lucinda Martin (Gotha) – ‘From Possession to Prophecy: A Cultural Pattern and its Transformation in Pietism’

Panel 30 (NAB 314) ENGLAND 6

Ionut Untea (La Rochelle) – ‘“The Stone in full motion” and the Eschatological Quest for a Science of Prophecy in Seventeenth-Century England’

Veronica Calsoni Lima (São Paulo) – ‘Prophetical Texts in a Bookstore at the Crown in Pope’s Head Alley (1646-1665)

Samuel Robinson (Berkeley) – ‘“That Pure Spiritual Body”: Radicalism, Materialism, and Prophecy in Seventeenth-century England’


Jennifer Egloff (NYU) – ‘Apocalypse by the Numbers: Biblical Indexing, Numerology, and Millenarianism in Early Modern England and British North America’

Philip Lockley (Oxford) – ‘When Did Early Modern Prophecies Become Modern? A Transatlantic Perspective’

Sheldon Kent (Lancaster) – ‘“Following the light of the sun, we left the Old World”: Columbus, Folk Religion and the Religion Building Imagination of Joseph Smith’

12.15-12.30 Coffee


Panel 32 (LG01) FRANCE 2

Rodney Dean (PhD, Sorbonne) – ‘Aspects of Millenarianism and the French Revolution: The Case of the Abbé Henri Grégoire, Constitutional Bishop of the Loir-et-Cher’

Jonathan Smyth (Birkbeck) – ‘Prophetesses, Parousia and Politics in Early Revolutionary France’

Panel 33 (NAB 314) PROPHECY IN ART

Sara Taglialagamba (Paris) – ‘Love Lust Faith + Dreams How Artists Portray Prophecies’

Marco Versiero (Florence, Naples) – ‘“L'occhio ne’ sogni”: Prophecy as a Mirror of Reality in Leonardo da Vinci’

Panel 34 (NAB 305) ENGLAND 7

Máté Vince (Warwick): ‘Either be vanity or infallibleness’: Prophecy and Uncertainty in Sir Philip Sidney’s Arcadia’

Emily Jennings (Oxford) – ‘Resurrection and Insurrection in 1606: A Case Study of a Puritan ‘“Prophet”’

1.30-2.15 Lunch

2.15-3.30 KEYNOTE 3 (LG01)

Chris Rowland (Oxford) – ‘“Where is the Spectre of Prophecy where the delusive Phantom”: William Blake and Contemporary Prophets’

3.30-4.00 Conclusion

Address: Goldsmiths,

University of London,
New Cross,
London, SE14 6NW,

For further information check the conference homepage at


Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software