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Resisting the Rosicrucians

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Theories on the Occult Origins of the Thirty Years’ War

In The Rosicrucian Enlightenment Frances Yates theorized that the occult philosophy described in the Rosicrucian Manifestos of 1614 were attached to a political alliance uniting Protestant England with the Palatinate. Though modern scholars have largely rejected Yates’s argument, at least two writers in the early seventeenth century argued along similar lines, linking the Rosicrucians to the revolt that placed the Palatine Elector on the Bohemian throne, initiating the Thirty Years’ War. Friedrich Förner, Suffragan-Bishop of Bamberg, and Jean Boucher, a noted French controversialist, both saw the Rosicrucians as an occult conspiracy working to undermine Catholic states from within. The two author’s attack on the Rosicrucians contained a veiled critique of Renaissance monarchy. In the end both authors proposed a form of constitutional government intended to remedy the worst defects of Renaissance absolutism and ensure the survival of Catholicism in an age of religious war.

Affiliations: 1: Oglethorpe University, Atlanta, GA


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