Jane Lead and English Apocalyptic Thought in the Late Seventeenth Century
This chapter examines Jane Lead’s apocalyptic thought, analysing her application of scriptural prophecies, her own prophesying on the coming of the millennial kingdom, and her belief in her privileged place alongside biblical prophets and visionaries. It describes how Lead’s understanding of the Book of Revelation concentrated on a mystical interpretation that saw the fulfilment of apocalyptic prophecies playing out within individual believers. Though focusing largely on Lead’s thought in its own right, the chapter also compares her ideas to more standard and widely accepted historicist interpretations of apocalyptic prophecies that had developed in England throughout the early modern period and into the Restoration. This demonstrates how her thought diverged from prevailing English apocalyptic ideas of the late seventeenth century.