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Nostradamus: A Healer of Souls in the Renaissance
— —
Denis Crouzet Mark Greengrass
Nostradamus: A Healer of Souls in the Renaissance by Denis Crouzet at Abbey's Bookshop,

Nostradamus: A Healer of Souls in the Renaissance

Denis Crouzet Mark Greengrass


Polity Press

European history;
Early modern history: c 1450 to c 1700;
Occult studies;
History of science


392 pages

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One of the most enigmatic figures in history, Nostradamus - apothecary, astrologer and soothsayer - is a continual source of fascination. Indeed, his predictions are so much the stock-in-trade of the wildest merchants of imminent Doom that one could be forgiven for ignoring the fact that Michel de Nostredame, 1503-1566, was a figure firmly rooted in the society of the French Renaissance.

In this bold new account of the life and work of Nostradamus, Denis Crouzet shows that any attempt to interpret his Prophecies at face value is misguided. Nostradamus was not trying to predict the future. He saw himself, rather, as ‘prophesying’, i.e. bringing the Word of God to humankind. In a century marked by the extreme violence of the Wars of Religion, Nostradamus’ profound Christian faith placed him among the ‘evangelicals’ of his generation. Rejecting the confessional tensions tearing Europe apart, he sought to coax his readers towards an interiorised piety, based on the essential presence of Christ. Like Rabelais, for whom laughter was a therapy to help one cope with the misery of the times, Nostradamus saw himself as a physician of the soul as much as of the body. His unveiling of the menacing and horrendous events which await us in the future was a way of frightening his readers into the realisation that inner hatred was truly the greatest peril of all, to which the sole remedy was to live in the love and peace of Christ.

This inspired interpretation penetrates the imaginative world of Nostradamus, a man whose life is as mysterious as his writings. It shows him in a completely new dimension, securing for him a significant place among the major thinkers of the Renaissance.

By:   Denis Crouzet
Translated by:   Mark Greengrass
Imprint:   Polity Press
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 229mm,  Width: 154mm,  Spine: 30mm
Weight:   602g
ISBN:   9781509507702
ISBN 10:   1509507701
Pages:   392
Publication Date:   October 2017
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Translator s Preface Introduction. Fragments of History 1. The Place Beyond Words 2. A Self-Contradictory Utterance 3. Treasures Beneath an Oak Tree 4. A Would-Be Astrophile 5. Thresholds Dependant on Subjectivity 6. An Evangelist Cogito 7. For the Common Profit of Mankind 8. A Burning Mirror 9. Divine Light 10. From the All to the One 11. The Word of Creation 12. An Episteme of Reason 13. Sacredness and Nothingness 14. The Energetics of Obscurity 15. Powers of Evil 16. Man Against Man 17. All the Sins of the World 18. The Horror that Invites Horror 19. Faith: Trial and Tribulations 20. From Alpha to Omega 21. The Philology of Angst 22. The Panic Paradox 23. The Eschataology of the Rainbow 24. The Ontological Turn 25. Liberty in Christ By Way of Conclusion: Why Nostradamus? Notes Chronology Sources and Bibliography

Denis Crouzet is Professor of Modern History at the University of Paris IV-Sorbonne. His work focuses on the French Wars of Religion and the use of violence in the Renaissance.

This study by the distinguished historian of Renaissance France, Denis Crouzet, is a milestone in studies of Nostradamus for two reasons: its attention to the sixteenth century context of the prophecies, and its 'anti-interpretation', arguing that the meaning of the texts 'is always left hanging in the air'. Peter Burke, University of Cambridge In this very subtle and thought-provoking book Denis Crouzet makes sense of Nostradamus precisely by accepting his deliberate obscurity. The extraordinary violence and disquieting imagery of his quatrains can be compared with the paintings of Bosch, portraying a world turned upside down where sin and cruelty presage divine punishment. Crouzet skillfully weaves this into a broader understanding of the spiritual and emotional imaginary of the Reformation era, when all old certainties seemed to be melting down, amidst terrifying human savagery. Robin Briggs, All Souls College, University of Oxford

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