Arnau de Vilanova’s Interpretation of Acts 1:6-8 in the «Praesentatio facta Burdegaliae»

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Abstract

The exegesis of Acts 1:6-8 played a fundamental role in the eschatological polemic that the physician and theologian Arnau de Vilanova kept up with professional theologians (i.e. teachers at the University of Paris and Dominicans). In Arnau de Vilanova’s final polemical work, the unedited Praesentatio facta Burdegaliae, the Catalan thinker offers Pope Clement V a synthetic account of his exegesis of these Biblical verses. Therein Arnau de Vilanova puts forward an exegesis based purely on common sense, knowledge of grammar and fidelity to the letter of the text. Interpreted thus, the words of Jesus Christ in Acts 1:7-8 fail to divulge the tempora vel momenta to the Apostles alone, though not to those destined to live in future times. Yet Christ refuses to divulge these tempora vel momenta to them should they seek to acquire knowledge thereof “via their own human powers”, rather than via revelation. The Holy Spirit shall be able to reveal them. The proclamation on the part of Arnau de Vilanova, then –based as it was upon divine revelation rather than natural speculation– to the effect that the Antichrist would arrive in the mid-fourteenth century, was compatible –invariably in the Catalan author’s view– with the words uttered by Jesus Christ in Acts 1:7.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-406
Number of pages20
JournalAnnali di Storia dell'Esegesi
Volume38
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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