Joachim of Fiore (c.1135-1202)

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JOACHIM OF FLORIS. Very little is known with certainty of the life of this remarkable man. The biography which Jacobus Græcus Syllanæus, a monk of the monastery of Flore, published in 1612, is very little reliable, in spite of the author’s appeal to elder documents; and the notes of his friend and secretary Jacobus have not come down to us in their original form. He is said to have been born at Cælicum, a village near Cosenza, in 1145, and to have been brought to the court of Roger II. of Sicily when he was fourteen years old (Roger II., however, died in 1154). After a pilgrimage to the holy Land, he became monk, and afterwards abbot, of the Cistercian monastery of Corace in Calabria... But he afterwards left that place, and retired, with his friend Rainerius, to the mountain solitudes of Sylæ, near Cosenza. There he built a new monastery (St. Joannis en Flori), of which he became abbot, and into which he introduced a set of rules more severe than those of the Cistercians. The monastery was confirmed as an independent institution by Cælestine III., and became the mother of several other similar establishments. Three popes - Lucius III., Urban III., and Clement III. - took an interest in his prophetico-apocalyptical studies; and in a document drawn up in 1200, and containing the names of his works, - Concordia utriusque testamenti; Expositiones in Apocal., Psalterium; Contra Judæos; Contra Cathol. Fid. Adversarios, of which the two last have perished, - he admonished his brother-abbots to lay his works before the Pope, and obtain his sanction. He died between September, 1201, and June, 1202.

The first point in which Joachim drew down upon himself the censure of the Church, though not until after his death, was his polemics against the scholastic exposition of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity by Petrus Lombardus. The Lombard’s definition of the divine essence seemed to him to lead to a quaternity; but, in his attempt to escape from this error, he himself fell into a kind of tritheism, which was severely censured by the Fourth Council of the Lateran, 1215 (Mansi: Concil., xxii. 981). Of still graver import were those speculations which developed from his eschatological views, and which finally assumed a decidedly anti-Roman and anti-churchly tendency. Joachim taught that there had been a reign of the Father from the creation to the birth of Christ, and a reign of the Son, which should come to an end in 1260, and be followed by a reign of the Holy Spirit. These views were adopted by certain groups of the Franciscan order, and gave rise to the idea of an everlasting gospel, which should supersede both the Old and the New Testament. The Introductorius in Evangelium Æternum, written by Ghehardinus de Burgo Sancti Domini, and published in Paris, 1254, made an inunense sensation, and caused a still further development of the apocalyptical ideas of Joachim.

G Voigt, "Joachim of Floris," Philip Schaff, ed., A Religious Encyclopaedia or Dictionary of Biblical, Historical, Doctrinal, and Practical Theology, 3rd edn, Vol. 2. Toronto, New York & London: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1894. p.1183.

Secondary Sources

Article in Journal or Book David Allen, "Abbot Joachim of Fiore: The Trinity and the Church of the Spirit," Paraclete 23.3 (1989): 29-32.
Article in Journal or Book M.W. Bloomfield, "Recent Scholarship of Joachim of Fiore and His Influence," A. Williams, ed. Prophecy and Millenarianism: Essays in Honour of Marjorie Reeves. Harlow: Longman Group, 1980. bk. ISBN: 0582361362. pp.21-52.
Article in Journal or Book E. Randolph Daniel, "Joachim of Fiore: New Editions and Studies," Christianesimo Nella Storia 21.3 (2000): 675-685.
Article in Journal or Book G. Dickson, "Prophecy and rationalism: Joachim of Fiore, Jewish messianism and the Children's Crusade of 1212," Florensia 13-14 (1999-2000): 97-104.
Book or monograph Joachim of Fiore and the Myth of the Eternal Evangel in the Nineteenth and Twentieth CenturiesWarwick Gould & Marjorie Reeves, Joachim of Fiore and the Myth of the Eternal Evangel in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, rev. edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. Hbk. ISBN: 0199242305. pp.448.
On-line Resource International Center for Joachimist Studies
Article in Journal or Book David Larsen, "Joachim of Fiore: The Rebirth of Futurism," Covenant Quarterly 60.1 (2002): 1-15.
Article in Journal or Book Bernard McGinn, "The Abbot and the Doctors: Scholastic Reactions to the Radical Eschatology of Joachim of Fiore," Church History 40.1 (1971): 30-47.
Book or monograph Bernard McGinn, ed., Apocalyptic Spirituality: Treatises and Letters by Lactantius, Adso of Montier-en-Derl, Joachim of Fiore, the Spiritual Franciscans and Savonarola. London: SPCK, 1980. Pbk. ISBN: 0281037450. pp.257.
Article in Journal or Book Bernard McGinn, "Symbolism in the Thought of Joachim of Fiore," A. Williams & M.W. Bloomfield, eds., Prophecy and Millenarianism: Essays in Honour of Marjorie Reeves. Harlow: Longman Group, 1980. bk. ISBN: 0582361362.
Book or monograph Bernard McGinn, The Calabrian Abbot: Joachim of Fiore in the History of Western Thought. Macmillan USA, 1985. Hbk. ISBN: 0029195500. pp.280.
Article in Journal or Book Jürgen Moltmann, "Christian Hope: Messianic Or Transcendent? A Theological Discussion With Joachim Of Fiore And Thomas Aquinas," Horizons 12.2 (1985): 328-348.
Book or monograph Marjorie E. Reeves, The Influence of Prophecy in the Later Middle Ages. A Study of Joachimism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Hbk. ISBN: 0198270305. pp.588.
Book or monograph Reeves@ Joachim of Fiore and the Prophetic FutureMarjorie E. Reeves, Joachim of Fiore and the Prophetic Future, updated edn. Sutton Publishing, 1999. Pbk. ISBN: 075092151X. pp.224.
Book or monograph Joachim of Fiore and the Myth of the Eternal Evangel in the 14th CenturyMarjorie E. Reeves & W. Gould, Joachim of Fiore and the Myth of the Eternal Evangel in the Fourteenth Century. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987. Hbk. ISBN: 0199242305. pp.448.
Article in Journal or Book Fiona Robb, "Who Hath Chosen the Better Part? (Luke 10,42): Pope Innocent III and Joachim of Fiore on the Diverse Forms of Religious Life," Monastic Studies 2 (1991): 157-70.
Article in Journal or Book Fiona Robb, "Did Innocent III Personally Condemn Joachim of Fiore?" Florenzia 7 (1993): 77-91.
On-line Resource Ernest Crewdson Thomas [1876-1950], History of the SchoolmenErnest Crewdson Thomas [1876-1950], History of the Schoolmen. London: Williams & Norgate Ltd., 1941. Hbk. pp.677. View in PDF format pdf [This material is in the Public Domain]
Book or monograph Delno C. West, ed. Joachim of Fiore in Christian Thought. Essays on the Influence of the Calabrian Prophet, 2 Vols.. New York: New York : B. Franklin, 1975. ISBN: 0891020373. pp.xxiv + 631.

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