Biography of Guillaume Postel

This article contains a concise biographical timeline for Guillaume Postel (1510-1581). He was a French linguist, astronomer, Cabbalist, diplomat, professor, and religious universalist. He was an acquaintance of many of the men who founded the Society of Jesus.

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1510 – He is born in the village of Barenton in Normandy.

1536 – He is sent as the official interpreter of the French embassy of Jean de La Forêt to the Turkish sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in Constantinople by Francis I. He also collects Eastern manuscripts on his journey.

1538 – He publishes De originibus seu de hebraicae lingua (Concerning the Origins or concerning the language of Hebrew, in Latin).

1537 – He takes an interest in geography.

1540 – He publishes Les Magistratures athéniennes (The Athenian Magistrates, in French) and Description de la Syrie (Description of Syria, in French).

1543 – He publishes Les Raisons du Saint-Esprit (The Plans of the Holy Spirit, in French).

1544 – He publishes De orbis terrae concordia (Concerning the Agreement [in Doctrines] of the World, in Latin).

1547 – He becomes the confessor of Mother Zuana, an elderly woman who was responsible for the kitchen of the hospital of San Giovanni e Paolo. He publishes De nativitate Mediatoris (Concerning the Nativity of Jesus, in Latin). He also publishes Absconditorum clavis, ou La Clé des choses cachées et l’Exégèse du Candélabre mystique dans le tabernacle de Moyse (The Key to Hidden Things and the Interpretation of the Mystical Menorah in Moses’ Tabernacle, in French).

1548-1551 – He travels to the Holy Land and Syria to collect manuscripts.

1551 – He publishes Livre des causes et des principes (Book of Causes and Principles, in French).

1552 – He publishes Abrahami patriarchae liber Jezirah (The Sefer Yetzirah of Abraham the Patriarch,” in Latin) and Liber mirabilium (Book of Miracles, in Latin) and Raisons de la monarchie (Reasons for Monarchy, in French) and La Loi salique (The Salian Law, in French) and L’Histoire mémorable des expéditions depuis le déluge (The Known History of Travels after the Flood, in French).

1553 – He publishes Les Très Merveilleuses Victoires des femmes du Nouveau monde (The very Marvelous Victories of the Women of the New World, in French) and Des merveilles du monde et principalemẽt des admirables choses des Indes & du noveau monde (On the Marvels of the world and especially on the Admirable Affairs of the Indies and the New World, in French) and Le Livre de la concorde entre le Coran et les Évangiles (The Book of Concordances between the Quran and the Gospels, in French).

1559 – He publishes Cosmographie (Cosmography, in French).

1560 – He publishes La République des Turcs (The Turkish Republic, in French).

1564 – He is detained to the monastery of St. Martin des Champs in Paris, “because of his delusions on the Mother Jeanne”.

1570 – He publishes La Vraye et Entière Description du royaume de France (The True and Whole Description of the Kingdom of France, in French).

1581 – He dies

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