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Inspiration and Authority in the Middle AgesProphets and their Critics from Scholasticism to Humanism$
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Brian FitzGerald

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198808244

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198808244.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 21 January 2022

The Mendicant Conflict over Prophecy: Thomas Aquinas and Peter John Olivi

The Mendicant Conflict over Prophecy: Thomas Aquinas and Peter John Olivi

(p.109) 4 The Mendicant Conflict over Prophecy: Thomas Aquinas and Peter John Olivi
Inspiration and Authority in the Middle Ages

Brian FitzGerald

Oxford University Press

This chapter shows how unauthorized claims of inspiration began to take more serious form, a development which gave greater urgency to theoretical reflections about prophecy. The chapter begins with a treatment of the thought of Thomas Aquinas, who consolidated the Dominican position in opposition to the challenge of apocalyptic or eschatological prophecy found in Joachim of Fiore’s writings. Aquinas attempted to define the limits of supernatural inspiration without excluding the Holy Spirit from the contemporary Church. He emphasized that the best form of prophecy was not prediction but ‘intellectual’ prophecy, or theological understanding. The chapter then contrasts Aquinas’s work with that of the Franciscan Peter John Olivi, who drew on Joachim’s teachings, as well as Hugh of St Victor’s, to promote visionaries with special insights into history. This contrast reveals how Aquinas makes prophecy appear more ordinary than Olivi’s, while also making it more difficult to discern who is inspired.

Keywords:   Thomas Aquinas, Joachim of Fiore, Peter John Olivi, Franciscan Order, sanctity, eschatology, apocalypse, prudence, intellectual, supernatural

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