Resisting the Rosicrucians

Theories on the Occult Origins of the Thirty Years’ War

in Church History and Religious Culture
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In The Rosicrucian Enlightenment Frances Yates theorized that the occult philosophy described in the Rosicrucian Manifestos of 1614 were attached to a political alliance uniting Protestant England with the Palatinate. Though modern scholars have largely rejected Yates’s argument, at least two writers in the early seventeenth century argued along similar lines, linking the Rosicrucians to the revolt that placed the Palatine Elector on the Bohemian throne, initiating the Thirty Years’ War. Friedrich Förner, Suffragan-Bishop of Bamberg, and Jean Boucher, a noted French controversialist, both saw the Rosicrucians as an occult conspiracy working to undermine Catholic states from within. The two author’s attack on the Rosicrucians contained a veiled critique of Renaissance monarchy. In the end both authors proposed a form of constitutional government intended to remedy the worst defects of Renaissance absolutism and ensure the survival of Catholicism in an age of religious war.

Church History and Religious Culture

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References

6

Barnes, Prophecy and Gnosis, pp. 223–224.

11

Evans, Habsburg Monarchy, pp. 419–427.

12

Moran, Alchemical World, pp. 9–14. Roy Strong, Art and Power (Woodbridge, 1894), pp. 171–173.

13

Moran, Alchemical World, p. 25.

16

Cf. Evans, Habsburg Monarchy, pp. 51–47, 394–399. On peasant revolts in this period, see Tom Scott, ‘Peasant Revolts in Early Modern Germany,’ The Historical Journal 28 (1985), pp. 455–468. Winfried Schultze stresses the secular nature of these later revolts, arguing that they are fundamentally different from the Peasants’ War of 1525 and other religiously-inspired rebellions of the 1520s and 30s. Schulze, ed. Aufstände, Revolten, Prozesse. Beiträge zu bäuerlichen Widerstandsbewegungen im frühneuzeitlichen Europa (Stuttgart, 1983). Both Herman Rebel and Günther Dippold, however, have shown connections between popular resistance and the pressure of the Counter Reformation. Rebel, Peasant Classes: The Bureaucratization of Property and Family Relations under Early Habsburg Absolutism 1511–1636 (Princeton, 1983); Dippold, Konfessionalisierung am Obermain (Staffelstein, 1996), pp. 249–254.

17

Peukert, Rosenkreutz, pp. 10–12, 158.

18

Hvolbek, ‘Being and knowing,’ p. 105; Evans, Rudolf II,

19

Barnes, Prophecy, pp. 205–210; Hvolbek, p. 103; Tilton, pp. 36–38; Steven E. Ozment, Mysticism and Dissent: Religious Ideology and Social Protest in the Sixteenth Century (New Haven, 1973), pp. 208–218.

20

Hvolbek, p. 98; Evans, Rudolf II, pp. 200–201.

25

Libavius, Wohlmeinendes bedencken, p. 5.

26

Ibid., pp. 24–26.

27

Ibid., pp. 30–39, 50–53, 60–68.

28

Ibid., p. 15. Libavius refers the reader her to a work by the Spanish Franciscan, Luys Malvenda, Von den sonderbaren Geheimnussen deß Antichristi (Munich, 1604).

29

Libavius, Wohlmeinendes bedencken, pp. 210–211.

31

Ibid., pp. 238–258, 285.

32

Ibid., pp. 13, 227, 285–286; compare Norman Cohn’s descriptions of the “eschatological phantasies” of Müntzer, Hans Hut, and Hans Denck, Cohn, Pursuit of the Millenium (Oxford, 1970), pp. 247–255; also Gottfried Seebaß, Müntzers Erbe. Werk, Leben und Theologie des Hans Hut (1527) (Erlangen-Nuremberg, 1981), pp. 178–181; Waite, pp. 45–40, 197–205.

34

Ibid., p. 85.

35

Ibid., p. 88.

36

Ibid., pp. 89–90.

37

Cf. Moran, Andreas Libavius, pp. 112–115 for the conflict between Libavius and Gretser.

39

Yates, Rosicrucian Enlightenment, pp. 135–136.

41

Yates, Rosicrucian Enlightenment, p. 137.

42

Waite, pp. 353–354, note 1; the entry in VD 17 supports this view.

48

Peukert, pp. 129–131; Some of Ziegler’s prophecies pointed to America as the place where this new kingdom would be established. Cf. Ziegler, America. Das ist Erfundung und Offenbahrung der newen Welt (Frankfurt, 1617).

57

Bireley, Religion and Politics, pp. 6–7; Charles Howard Carter, The Secret Diplomacy of the Habsburgs, 1598–1625 (New York, 1966), pp. 43, 171–181.

59

Bireley, Religion and Politics, pp. 23–24, 130–131; Bireley, The Jesuits and the Thirty Years’ War (Cambridge, 2003), pp. 48–51, 60–61.

62

Ibid., pp. 8–15. Here he is referring to the version in the Gospel of Mark.

64

Ibid., pp. 40–43. Similar arguments appear in French controversial literature from the late sixteenth centuries, where direct connections were drawn between demonic possession, Calvinist skepticism, and the necessity of miracles for the rise and spread of the Church. See, for example, Louis Richeome, Trois Discours pour la Religion Catholique des miracles, de saincts, & des images (Bourdeaux, 1599); Charles Blendec, Cinq Histoires Admirables (Paris, 1582).

71

Ibid., pp. 437–439; in this section Förner draws heavily on Gretser, Syntagma, pp. 83–84 but greatly amplifies Gretser’s argument.

73

Ibid., pp. 442–445.

74

Ibid., pp. 447–449.

75

Ibid., p. 449; Molther, Grundliche Relation; cf. Gretser, Syntagma, pp. 84–87; Peukert, Der Rosenkreutz, pp. 127–129.

77

Ibid., p. 454.

78

Ibid., p. 455.

79

Ibid., p. 456; quoting Gretser, Syntagma, p. 85, and Laurentius Surius, Commentarius Brevis Rerum in Orbe Gestarum (Cologne, 1586), pp. 157–158.

84

Ibid., pp. 482–490.

85

Ibid., pp. 501–502.

88

Förner, Duo Specula, p. 7.

92

Boucher, De Iusta Abdicatione, pp. 36–52, 389–391.

93

Ibid., pp. 9–43, 72; Baumgartner, pp. 127–135.

95

Baumgartner, pp. 136–140.

96

Boucher, De Iusta Abdicatione, pp. 170–190, 335. One suspects that Boucher was here alluding to the king’s sexual proclivities.

98

Boucher, Couronne Mystique, pp. 537–539.

99

Ibid., pp. 539–547; cf. Boucher, Simulee Conversion, p. 24; David M. Whitford, The Curse of Ham in the Early Modern Era: The Bible and the Justification for Slavery (Farnham, Surrey, 2009), pp. 55–56.

100

Boucher, Couronne Mystique, pp. 549–551, 582–599. Boucher’s authorities include Peter Binsfeld, Nicholas Remy, Claude Boguet, Louis Gaufridi, and Pierre de Lancre. The particular variety of spirits in France are water sprites, Luytons, or Neriads. Boucher identifies three other sorts: follets, govelins, and moines biurez. These he equates with trolls and fairies as well as with the human-animal deities worshiped by the Egyptians.

101

Ibid., p. 555.

102

Ibid., pp. 555–557.

105

Evans, Habsburg Monarchy, p. 340.

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