Chapter

Apocalyptic Moments and the Eschatological Rhetoric of Reform in the Early Eleventh Century: The Case of the Visionary of St. Vaast

David C. Van Meter

in The Apocalyptic Year 1000

Published in print June 2003 | ISBN: 9780195161625
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849666 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195161625.003.0016
Apocalyptic Moments and the Eschatological Rhetoric of Reform in the Early Eleventh Century: The Case of the Visionary of St. Vaast

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At this point in the “new historiography” of the apocalyptic year 1000, if one may speak so confidently, it is no longer sufficient for historians to merely root around in the documents for evidence of eschatological tensions and millennial rhetoric. One might fairly conclude that the abbots and bishops who were the most caught up in the debates and struggles surrounding the various reform programs fought to preserve something of a monopoly on eschatological conceptualizations. This chapter reconsiders in light of these musings, a fairly well known, yet vastly underexploited, apocalyptic text from around the year 1000: the letter of Richard of St. Vanne describing the two otherworldly visions of a monk of St. Vaast in Arras. Specifically, it examines the manner in which this letter functioned as millennial rhetoric aimed at persuading a specific audience-monks who were resisting the efforts of an outsider to reform them to adopt a clearly articulated program of action.

Keywords: historiography; year 1000; millennial rhetoric; reforms; letter; Richard of St. Vanne; monks; St. Vaast

Chapter.  8059 words. 

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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