Title: Illicit Christianity : Guillaume Postel, Kabbalah and a "transgender" Messiah
Source document: Religio. 2019, vol. 27, iss. 1, pp. -15
ISSN1210-3640 (print)2336-4475 (online)
License: Not specified license
Like so many other individuals – particularly in his time –, the French Humanist G. Postel (1510-1581) felt convinced that he was invested with a prominent spiritual role to play. His 1546 chance-meeting in Venice with an elderly visionary woman, he interpreted as a providential confirmation of his mission, the more so as he rapidly came to identify her with the Christian messiah come again as a woman. Their common – and entirely self-appointed – task was to herald publicly the incoming Era of the "Restitution" of mankind, a last period of merciful leniency granted to mankind by the divine Providence before the end of time. For this announcement to be made credible, Postel developed some complex theories about the feminine messiah, and about himself as being her and Jesus' progeny, after having been submitted to a process of internal transmutation culminating in early 1552. Certain Kabbalistic speculations played an important part in shaping Postel's outlook, and constituted the pattern against which he modelled the new version of Christianity he felt compelled to advertise. The present article attempts to give an analysis of his disclosures and examines the degree of awareness and (dis?)ingenuity Postel eventually manifested when confronted with the theological and political scandals resulting from his "revelations".