Taming the Prophets : : Astrology, Orthodoxy and the Word of God in Early Modern Sweden
Abstract: Popular Abstract in English In May 1619, the Finnish astrologer Sigfridus Aronus Forsius (d. 1624) was examined by clerical authorities. In the verdict, astrology was rejected as a pagan craft, forbidden for any Christian. Yet still astrology was inseparable from the scholarly conception of the world. The principles of astral influence were more or less self-evident in physical theory and in medical practice. During the Reformation, astrology had been used as a prophetic method, revealing the Word of God as it was displayed in the Book of Nature. One of the more rabid critics, the grave and vehemently orthodox bishop of Strängnäs, Laurentius Paulinus Gothus (1565-1646), had even practiced the art in his youth, published astrological prognostications and gained ‘abundant maintenance’ from it. Challenging the view of how clergymen of the Reformation contributed to the so-called ‘disenchantment of the world’ by rejecting astrology and other occult sciences, this book offers new perspectives on early modern intellectual debate. With focus on the issue of astrology, the displacement of the limits between allowable and illicit knowledge in the orthodox, Lutheran discourse, is set in context of social and political change in late sixteenth- and early seventeenth century Sweden.
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