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Golden Showers: The Coagulating Cosmos of a Fourteenth-Century Mad Scientist

October 24, 2016
05:30 PM - 06:30 PM
Rossell Hope Robbins Library, Rush Rhees Library (4th Floor)

Louisa A. Burnham
Middlebury College
Associate Professor of History

When Limoux Nègre died unrepentant at the stake in 1329, he was no ordinary heretic. He had recounted beliefs to the inquisitors of Carcassonne shocking even today: among many strange assertions, Nègre argued that Jesus was conceived in a kind of in-vitro fertilization; Muslims, Jews and Christians would all be saved at the Last Judgment; and the world had been formed when the Sun and the Moon urinated and their urine coagulated. According to his own account, Limoux had received his knowledge and philosophy directly from God in a moment of revelation. By reading behind and beyond his words, however, we can perceive the complexity of a troubled medieval mind whose inspirations range from contemporary heresies to the alchemical pursuit of the ultimate elixir that could bring the dead back to life.

Sponsored by the Cluster on Premodern Studies

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