Apocalypticism and Mysticism in Joachim of Fiore’s Expositio in Apocalypsim

  • Bernard McGinn
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


Joachim of Fiore’s Expositio in Apocalypsim rests on divine revelation that gave him insight into “the concord of the whole Old and New Testaments.” Through his revolutionary concordist exegesis, the Abbot laid out the Trinitarian structure of the whole of sacred history with its three status ascribed to the Father (the time of the Old Testament), the Son (the time of the New Testament), and the coming millennial time of the Holy Spirit. Joachim detected a mystical dimension within the imminent third status, an era of communal deeper awareness of God in which the universal church will become a contemplative community. Joachim’s distinctive communal-ecclesiastical mysticism is biblical, for it features the earthly attainment of what Joachim called the intellectus spiritualis scripturarum. It is also liturgical, realized in monastic liturgical psalmody; and affective, characterized by loving relation to Christ. Joachim’s ecclesia spiritualis, or ecclesia contemplantium, with its viri spirituales, has been called a monastic utopia, but it is perhaps more accurate to speak of it as the mystical community of the age of the Holy Spirit.

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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernard McGinn
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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