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Johann Heinrich Alsted 1588–1638Between Renaissance, Reformation, and Universal Reform$
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Howard Hotson

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198208280

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198208280.001.0001

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Apocalyptic Changes: The Origins of Alsted's Millenarianism, 1619–27

Apocalyptic Changes: The Origins of Alsted's Millenarianism, 1619–27

(p.182) 5Apocalyptic Changes: The Origins of Alsted's Millenarianism, 1619–27
Johann Heinrich Alsted 1588–1638

Howard Hotson

Oxford University Press

The Diatribe de mille annis apocalypticis, like the Encyclopaedia, presents Johann Heinrich Alsted's thought in its most sober and respectable guise. This little book — the first and most influential main exposition of Alsted's millenarianisn — contains no hint of the claims of personal revelations or the detailed political prophecies which so discredited the millenarianism of Alsted's student, Johann Amos Comenius. It offers a detailed exposition of the locus classicus of millenarianism, the twentieth chapter of the Apocalypse, and a single syllogism backed by no fewer than sixty-five further passages from scripture. In place of the complex numerological calculations and prophetic synchronisms which dominate so much apocalyptic literature, it discusses a single, simple calculation based on the numbers of canonical prophecy and offers only a few passing allusions to astrology. Alsted's millenarianism, like his encyclopedism, also has another face. If the Diatribe is scrutinized in the light of Alsted's earlier works and their sources, it also reveals an unexpected hermetic dimension.

Keywords:   Johann Heinrich Alsted, millenarianism, Apocalypse, prophecy, encyclopedism, scripture, syllogism, heterodoxy, war

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