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John Dee & the Magical Origins of the British Empire
27-05-2018, 06:55 AM
Post: #1
John Dee & the Magical Origins of the British Empire
At last, the true purpose of John Dee’s invention of the ‘British Empire’, previously hidden, can now be revealed. Conventional wisdom holds that he was responsible for naming that empire, which became identified with a progressive Protestant mission to bring enlightenment to a benighted world. However, that picture is the complacent result of intervening centuries of imperial history. From neglected manuscripts and hints within Dee’s writings, we now discover that, for Dee, the real purpose of the British Empire was to fulfil its prophetic and apocalyptic destiny. He drew upon ancient prophecies of a Last World Empire under an Emperor (or Empress) who would reform global religion, society, and politics before the return of Christ to rule the world for a millennium.

In fact, Dee was not a Protestant of the kind assumed by later centuries. He was born into a Catholic London family in 1527, baptised in a ritual which the Church taught exorcised demons from the infant, and brought up to believe in the magical powers of the priesthood and its rituals. His patrons at St John’s College Cambridge, where he studied as an undergraduate, and Trinity College, where he became a Fellow in 1547, were all conservative Catholics. Dee also studied at Louvain, when that university had become a bastion of Catholic orthodoxy. Therefore it is no surprise that Dee finally became a Catholic priest in February 1554, partly to please his master, the Earl of Pembroke, who needed to ingratiate himself with Queen Mary, and partly to escape suspicion through his family’s connections with the Wyatt Rebellion, which had just been bloodily suppressed. Dee served ‘Bloody’ Bonner, Bishop of London, as chaplain, making rather ineffectual attempts to convert the Protestants whom Bonner persecuted. Dee was not a very doctrinaire Catholic; he belonged to an ecumenical generation of European intellectuals who hoped for a ruler who would heal the dreadful schisms in Europe. Many believed that alchemy would produce this end, for the Last World Emperor would wield the philosopher’s stone to reform all of decaying Nature, including human beings.
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