Frances Kneupper

Senior Core Fellow
Period of Stay: 
October 2020 - June 2021
University of Mississippi, the USA
Project Title: 
Beware False Prophets: The Contest over Prophecy in the Late Middle Ages
Project Abstract: 

Beware False Prophets examines the contest over knowledge of the future from the time of the Papal Schism to the Council of Basel. Because a prophet claimed her own brand of authority and knowledge, prophecy became embroiled in contests over knowledge, authority, gender, governance, and power. Several controversies over prophecies and prophets emerged. At issue were definitions of prophecy, the right of laypeople to prophesy, the possibility of female prophets, the role of clerical oversight, and the professionalization of future-telling. My current project details these struggles while situating them within the upheavals over spiritual and intellectual authority that convulsed Europe during the conciliar era. This contest represents a crucial, overlooked, moment in the transition from medieval to early modern thought, in which individuals meditated on the mechanisms of knowledge and the basis of spiritual authority, and offered new  answers.