Image Source: Department of History, Goldsmiths, University of London.
Goldsmiths, University of London is holding a conference in June of 2014 on Early Modern prophecies. Historians now believe that the persistence of superstitions about oracles and omens in the 18th century meant that the Enlightenment did not bring the expected degree of secularization to society in that period. Their call for papers reads:
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.