The Cry of a Stone

The Cry of a Stone

The Cry of a Stone

The Cry of a Stone

Excerpt

Anna Trapnel's The Cry of a Stone is a prophecy, written in the middle of the turbulent years of the English Revolution, in 1654. To someone approaching this text now, the prospect of reading a prognostication the accuracy of which we, some three hundred and fifty years later, might test, or marvel at, may promise an intriguing, even tantalising, encounter.

Such expectations will almost certainly be confounded by this particular prophecy. One reason for this is that [prophecy] in the seventeenth century meant something quite different from what it does now. [Prophecy] for us suggests the prognostication of events; whilst there certainly were such [prophecies] in the seventeenth century, concerned to foretell the future in the secular and often political sense that we now associate with this activity, prophecy at that time usually had an overtly religious dimension, and as such had a range of more diverse meanings. At its broadest, [prophecy was any utterance produced by God through human agency.] This might mean, as Mary Cary (like Trapnel, a Fifth-Monarchist prophet writing in the 1650s) suggested, that [all might prophesy, that is (in the lowest sense) be able to speak to edification, exhortation and comfort.] By this definition, [prophecy] elides with preaching (though neither activity was confined to ministers), but the naming of something as [prophecy] conferred on it a kind of authority and mystique

Tim Thornton, [Reshaping the Local Future: The Development and Uses of Provincial
Political Prophecies, 1300–1900,] in Prophecy: The Power of Inspired Language in History 1300–
2000
, ed. Bertrand Taithe and Tim Thornton (Stroud, Glos.: Sutton Publishing, 1997), 51–
67.

Diane Purkiss, [Producing the Voice, Consuming the Body: Women Prophets of the
Seventeenth Century,] in Women, Writing, History 1640–1740, ed. Isobel Grundy and Susan
Wiseman (London: Batsford, 1992), 139–58, here 139.

Mary Cary, A New and M ore Exact Mappe or Description of New Jerusalems Glory (Lon
don, 1651), 237.

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