Translation, Notes and Introduction by Warren Lewis
Olivi’s monumental work was completed in 1297, a few months before his death on 14 March, 1298. Widely read, copied, and translated into the vernacular, the commentary on John’s Apocalypse—along with Olivi’s commentary on Matthew—was officially condemned in the 14th century, and many copies were ceremonially burned, as were some of their readers. Only 14 manuscripts are known to have survived. This translation was made of the critical edition of Olivi’s book.
Composed in the Scholastic style of the University of Paris, Olivi first delivered these chapters as a series of lectures in Franciscan studia. The text is a blend of the traditional exposition, highly selective, of Richard of St. Victor with the prophetic insights of Joachim of Fiore and Bonaventure’s Franciscan theology. Olivi followed Joachim’s principle of concordia consistently to develop his own superabundant hermeneutics of multiple literal fulfillments. Without blinking, Olivi viewed his own times critically and spoke of future history in the apocalyptic light of John’s radical eschatology. Olivi articulated a profoundly moral philosophy of history moved by novelty, proclaiming the death of the old and the dawn of the new, and laid the groundwork for the many reformations of the church in the centuries to come. He affirmed salvation by charisma as the fundamental principle of the future ecclesia spiritualis; conceived the possibility of the providential reunion of Christians and Jews; and foresaw both the Jewish Holocaust and the salvation of all Israel.
WARREN LEWIS studied at Abilene Christian University, Harvard Divinity School, the Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies (Toronto), and the University of Tübingen. While completing the edition and this translation, he was Visiting Scholar at the Medieval Institute (the University of Notre Dame) and Harvard Divinity School.
2017: 714 p
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