End Time at Hand: Innocent III, Joachim of Fiore, and the Fourth Crusade

  • Marcia L. Colish
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


Scholarly defenders of the orthodoxy of the Calabrian abbot Joachim of Fiore (d.1202) present him as a conventional monastic theologian and exegete of his time. The fact that Pope Innocent III (1198–1216) cited Joachim’s commentary on the Book of Revelation in a letter written in October 1204, they argue, placed a papal seal of approval on Joachim’s thought. A critique of that position, this paper shows that Joachim’s exegesis of Revelation was far less mainstream than has been maintained, and that, far from identifying Innocent as a paid-up Joachite, his letter of 1204 was a one-shot rhetorical ploy, swiftly abandoned, and best understood in the context of the politics of the Fourth Crusade and in the light of what Innocent says on the same themes in other contexts.

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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcia L. Colish
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of HistoryYale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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