Corpus Hermeticum by A cura di Ilaria Ramelli

By A cura di Ilaria Ramelli

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By A cura di Ilaria Ramelli

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55 Despite the apparent conclusion of proceedings against him, Rupescissa was reexamined intermittently and never ceased to fear for his life. Following his appearance before the curia on October 2, Rupescissa was placed in a papal prison (called the “Sultan’s” prison) rather than returned to the custody of the Franciscan order. Rupescissa’s hopes for better conditions under the protection of the pope were unfounded, however, for life in the papal prison was in some respects worse than his earlier captivity.

In short, Rupescissa draws analogical connections between incidents in human history (such as the death and resurrection of Christ) and the behavior of natural materials (such as alchemical agents) in his alchemical works. indd 35 12/9/08 1:01:30 PM joh n of r u p e s c i s s a ’s v ision of the end and death to clarify the processes and meanings of natural change; in contrast, Rupescissa also cites in the passage above the behavior of animals in nature as a means to understand human behavior. This play upon the parallel structure of nature and humanity sets the stage for Rupescissa’s main argument: that the manipulation of the natural world can have real and powerful effects on the outcome of human and salvation history.

As the next chapter will demonstrate, Rupescissa’s interpretations of prophetic texts framed his apocalyptic predictions, providing a context for the plague, for the wars between England and France, and for the continued opposition to Franciscan poverty in the contemporary church. As he collected and read his sources, Rupescissa engaged with the continuous and flexible system of Christian apocalypticism, finding ways to apply this framework to the events of his day. Along the way, Rupescissa became an eschatological innovator.

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