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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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Albertino Mussato and Humanist Prophecy

Albertino Mussato and Humanist Prophecy

(p.193) 6 Albertino Mussato and Humanist Prophecy
Inspiration and Authority in the Middle Ages

Brian FitzGerald

Oxford University Press

The work of the Paduan humanist Albertino Mussato is the focus of this chapter. Mussato shared many of Nicholas Trevet’s views on the nature and purview of prophetic inspiration: he turned away from a predictive, apocalyptic understanding of prophecy and saw the workings of the Spirit in philosophical poetry, which combined harmonious expression with ethical import. Yet unlike Trevet, Mussato was a layman, and he staked his claim to prophetic status as a poet in opposition to much of scholastic and clerical tradition. Mussato thus became involved in a polemical exchange with a local Dominican more concerned with articulating limits than with furthering the implications of work such as Trevet’s. By insisting that the prophetic office could not be restricted to the professional theologian, Mussato encapsulated the complicated manner in which multiple strands of the medieval prophetic tradition intertwined.

Keywords:   laity, Padua, Albertino Mussato, liberal arts, Aristotle, wisdom, harmony, allegory, Seneca, poet

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