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Author: Lionel Laborie

Abstract

This chapter explores the oral prophetic culture of several French Protestant movements that emerged in south-eastern France in the aftermath of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. While Huguenots largely dismissed beliefs in prophecy and miracles as “superstitious” and “popish”, intensifying persecution in the 1680s led many to believe that they were living in the end times. Charismatic lay preachers replaced their pastors who had fled abroad and several generations of prophets survived underground in the remote mountains of Languedoc and Dauphiné over the eighteenth century. Their predictions of the relief of the ‘True’—Protestant—Church and the fall of Rome circulated in manuscript form and some were even published abroad. This chapter therefore sheds lights on the oral prophetic culture of the clandestine Huguenot community, starting with Isabeau Vincent and the “petits prophètes” of Dauphiné, whose prophecies circulated as far as New England; the French Quaker Daniel Raoux; the Camisards in the Cévennes; Isaac Elzière and the New Zionists; and the Huguenot minister Paul Rabaut. Considering these against the backdrop of other prophetic movements, it argues that the French eighteenth century was prophetic.

In: Early Modern Prophecies in Transnational, National and Regional Contexts (3 vols.)
In this 3-volume set of primary sources, Lionel Laborie and Ariel Hessayon bring together a wide range of vital sources for the study of prophecy in the early modern world. This meticulously edited collection includes rare material and fascinating manuscripts published in English for the first time. Volumes are organised geographically, each with its own introduction by a specialist. Together with their respective contributors, they show how prophecies circulated widely throughout this period at all levels of society. Indeed, they often emerged in times of crisis and were delivered as warnings as well as signals of hope. Moreover, they were constantly adapted and translated to suit ever changing contexts – including those for which they had not been originally intended.

Contributors include: Viktoria Franke, Monika Frohnapfel, William Gibson, Mayte Green, Marios Hatzopoulos, Jacqueline Hermann, Ariel Hessayon, Warren Johnston, Lionel Laborie, Adelisa Malena, Andreas Pečar, Martin Pjecha, Michael Riordan, Luís Filipe Silvério Lima, Damien Tricoire, Leslie Tuttle, and Kristine Wirts.