"A letter by the Master of the Hospitallers": Prophecy and Politics from the 14th to the 18th century
Lucio Biasiori earned his PhD in History from the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa (2011). He has recently been a part of a post-doctoral project, “Comparing Religions,” funded by the Balzan Foundation. His interests encompass the cultural and religious history of early modern Europe, with a particular focus on the exile of the Italian heretics of the 16th century, the birth of comparative religion, the sin/crime of suicide, and the works of Machiavelli. In his PhD thesis “Reading Machiavelli. History and Legacy,” he aimed to demonstrate that some features of Machiavelli’s reception are nothing but the development of potentialities embedded in his way of reading.
The Letter of the Master of Hospitallers announced the birth of a monstrous child in Babylon. Besides the fear of the Antichrist, it also raised the expectations of Jewish communities, hermetic humanists, fighters in the religious struggles, English Puritans. From the 14th to the 18th century, the form and content of this text changed according to the political and religious purpose of those who read it. To what extent can the Letter change our perception of late medieval and early modern prophetism?