John Eldevik.

Professor of History John Eldevik was recently invited by the program for Late Antique and Medieval Studies at the Claremont Colleges in California to present his recent research on the origins of the legend of Prester John and met with current students and faculty in the program.

The Prester John legend was a popular medieval myth, based on a famous forged letter, that imagined a fabulously wealthy and powerful Christian ruler whose empire was believed to lie somewhere in Asia or Africa in the Middle Ages.

Eldevik's talk, delivered at Pomona College, was titled "Wonder and Power: Prester John and the Global Imagination in 12th-century Europe," and used a close analysis of the letter's early manuscript tradition to argue for its origins in a Bavarian monastery around 1170, and discussed the ways it spoke to contemporary ideas about Christian history, apocalypticism, and political power.

Eldevik is completing a book-length project on the Prester John legend which will be published by ARC-Humanities Press next year.

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