Joachim, Abbot of Floris

Joachim, Abbot Of Floris, was born at Celico, in the diocese of Cosenza, about 1130. After a short residence at the court of Roger of Sicily, he journeyed to Jerusalem, and on his return joined the Cistercians, and became abbot of Corace (Curatium), in Calabria. This office he resigned, however, some time after, and founded himself a monastery at Floris, near Cosenza. Joachim died between 1201 and 1202. He enjoyed great reputation during his life: he was reverenced by many as a prophet, and stood in high consideration with popes and princes, but since his day he has been very variously judged. Praised as a prophet by J.G. Syllanaeus, and defended by the Jesuit Papebroch, he was accused of heresy by Bonaventura, and called a pseudo-prophet by Baronius. His partisans claimed that he worked miracles, but it appears better proved that he wrote prophecies, and denounced in the strongest terms the growing corruption of the Romish hierarchy. He endeavored to bring about a reformation. His character has perhaps been best delineated by Neander (Ch. Hist. 4, 220), who says of him: "Grief over the corruption of the Church, longing desire for better times, profound Christian feeling, a meditative mind, and a glowing imagination, such are the peculiar characteristics of his spirit and his writings." He complained of the deification of the Roman Church, opposed the issue of indulgences, condemned the Crusades as antagonistic to the express purpose of Christ, who had himself predicted only the destruction of Jerusalem, decried the simonious habits of the clergy, and even argued against the bestowal of temporal power on the pope, fearing that the contentions in his day for temporal power might ultimately result, as they eventually did, in the assumption of "spiritual things which do not belong to him." Joachim's doctrines, however, are somewhat peculiar. His fundamental argument is that the Christian era closes with the year 1260, when a new era would commence under another dispensation. Thus the three persons of the Godhead divided the government of ages among them: the reign of the Father embraced the period from the creation of the world to the coming of Christ; that of the Son, the twelve centuries and a half ending in 1260, and then would commence the reign of the Holy Spirit. This change would be marked by a progress similar to that which followed the substitution of the new for the old dispensation. Thus man, after having been carnal under the Father, half carnal and half spiritual under the Son, would, under the Holy Ghost, become exclusively spiritual. So there have been three stages of development in society, in which the supremacy belonged successively to warriors, the secular clergy, and monks (comp. Neander, Church History, 4, 229 sq.). As Joachim found many adherents, the third Lateran Council, at the request of Alexander III, condemned Joachim's "mystical extravagances ;" Alexander IV was still more severe in opposition to Joachim; and in 1260 the Council at Arles finally pronounced all followers of Joachim heretics. Joachim's ideas were chiefly presented in the form of meditations on the N.T. He strongly opposed the scholastic theology, which aimed at establishing the principles of faith dialectically, and also the manner in which Peter Lombard explained the doctrine of the Trinity. Towards the middle of the 13th century these views had gained a large number of adherents. Among the many works attributed to Joachim some are undoubtedly spurious, while others have probably been subjected to additions, etc., in consequence of his popularity (compare Neander, 4, 221, note). The Expositio super Apocalypsim (Venice, 1517, 4to, often reprinted), Concordioe Veteris ac Novi Testamenti libri v (Venice, 1519, 8vo), and the Psalterium decem Chordarum appear to be genuine. Among the others bearing his name are commentaries on Jeremiah, the Psalms, Isaiah, parts of Nahum, Habakkuk, Zechariah, and Malachi; also a number of prophecies concerning the popes, and predicting the downfall of the papacy. All these were published at Venice (1519-1524) and Cologne (1577). His Life was written by Gregory di Lauro (Naples, 1660, 4to). Among the MS. works attributed to him, Prophetioe et Expositiones Sibyllarum; Excerptiones e libris Joachimi de Mundi fine, de Terroribus et AErumnis, seu de pseudo-Christis; Prophetioe de Oneribus Provinciarum; Epistoloe Joachimni de suis Prophetiis; and Revelationes, are to be found in the public libraries of Paris. See Hist. Litter. de la France, vol. 20; Dom Gervaise, Histoire de l'abbe Joachim; Tiraboschi,

Storia della letter. Ital. vol. 5, 2d ed. Gregoire Laude, Vie de l'abbe Joachim; Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Générale, 26, 718; Neander, Ch. History, 4, 215 sq. Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 6, 713 sq.; Engelhardt, Joachim, etc., in Kirchengesch. Abhandlungen (Erl. 1832).

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