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Comments on Lemesurier's Nostradamus: the Halbronn hypotheses
- T.W.M. van Berkel -

Nederlandse versie

In the beginning of this month, on the websites Encyclopaedia Hermetica and Espace Nostradamus, a contribution has been published, written by Peter Lemesurier, entitled Nostradamus: the Halbronn hypotheses.[1] Lemesurier is an English Century-scholar, who wrote several books about Nostradamus and who leads the Nostradamus Research Group. Apparently, he wrote the article as a private person.

In Nostradamus: the Halbronn hypotheses, Lemesurier tries to knock down the ideas and hypotheses regarding Nostradamus, as formulated by Jacques Halbronn D.Litt., by discussing, very briefly, six items:

  • Halbronn's ideas about quatrain 04-46. 

  • Halbronn's conclusions regarding the comment by Couillard on the Preface to Cesar.

  • Halbronn's conclusions regarding differences between the Budapest-version and the Utrecht-version of the 1557-Du Rosne-edition of the Centuries.

  • Halbronn's conclusions regarding the comparison of the contents of the Epistle to Henry II in the Centuries with the dedicacy in the Présages Merveilleux pour 1557, which is also addressed to Henry II.

  • Halbronn's conclusions regarding the authenticity of Les Significations de l'Eclipse du 16. septembre 1559, given the inconsistency of astrological data.

  • Halbronn's conclusions regarding the meaning in Les Significations...  of the phrase comme plus amplemét est declaré à l'interpretation de la secóde céturie de mes Propheties.

In Lemesurier's article, one searches in vain for a description by Lemesurier in what ways his approach to the Centuries differs from Halbronn's approach. If he would have described these differences, his position would have been more clear for the readers. Now we have to deal with the fact that a discussion once more is caught into a trench. This is for no-ones benefit. 

Several times, Lemesurier writes that it is difficult to grasp the main elements of Halbronn's approach. Indeed, this is not easy, but Halbronn's publications are not a labyrinth. Besides his publications about parts of his Nostradamian research, Encyclopaedia Hermetica / Espace Nostradamus also contain more general and descriptive publications regarding his research, such as the letter he wrote to me on July 17, 2003, and more recently an article, entitled Petite contre encyclopedie nostradamus. Next, there is the thesis Le texte prophétique en France - formation et fortune, partly available online on Encyclopaedia Hermetica, and Documents inexploités sur le phénomène Nostradamus. As far as I am concerned, all these documents offer enough starting points to describe systematically Halbronn's oeuvre, to summarize it and to criticize it, instead of, as Lemesurier does, to present a tentative list, using this list for what looks like a fire dance. In some ways, this tentative list harms Halbronn's oeuvre. This list also harms the validity of Lemesurier's criticism. Finally: a correct summary of Halbronn's oeuvre is for the benefit of the readers of this article by Lemesurier.

I would like to take the opportunity to give a brief comment on Lemesurier's discussion of Halbronn's opinion about the authenticity of Les Significations..., also because I published a number of articles about this subject and because a number of my arguments are present in Lemesuriers comment.
Lemesurier presents a hypothesis. He writes about the line comme plus amplemét est declaré à l'interpretation de la secóde céturie de mes Propheties, that Les Significations... does not contain remarks which point to a published interpretation of the second Century. According to Lemesurier, publishing of this kind of interpretations would affect negatively the interests of Nostradamus, since it would have narrowed down the book’s potential scope and thus increased its likely fallibility.  Lemesurier supposes that there is a reference to an interpretation of the Centuries, sent privately to Jacques Marie Sala, bishop of Viviers and vice-legate, written by Nostradamus on request of Sala himself. Regarding this hypothesis, Lemesurier refers to other dedications of Nostradamus which contain remarks of a private nature.
As far as I know, this is the first time in the discussion about the authenticity of Les Significations..., that the possibility is mentioned that Nostradamus wrote interpretations of "the Centuries" and spread them privately. One should note that in the discussion of Les Significations... in the Recueil des Presages Prosaïques... it reads in the left margin of item #467: Ceste interpretation ne fut jamais veuë; the author of the RPP never saw such an interpretation.[2]  
It is one thing to present a possibility, it is another thing to present the involved document, in this case, the interpretation, directed to Sala. So let us wait until this interpretation is found, before we present the idea of the existence of such a document as a given fact. As far as I am concerned, this hypothesis is not reflected in the remains of Nostradamus' correspondence and is in contradiction with the remark in the Preface to Cesar that old books, long hidden (apparently playing an important role in the composing of the Centuries) were destroyed completely.

Regarding the two different charts of the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse, discussed in Les Significations..., Lemesurier notes that this does not point to the non-authentic character of Les Significations..., but to the authentic character, an argument which was given by dr. Elmar R. Gruber in an earlier phase in this debate. Lemesurier points to the fact that in the Nostradamian oeuvre there are five years of creation of the world, two of them in one and the same document: the Epistle to Henry II.
The argument that the Nostradamian oeuvre is characterized by contradictions and inaccurate use of source material, is not valid in all cases. In an article about astrological anomalies in Almanachs, Pronostications and correspondence, and in a contribution to the November 2004 MAU symposium, I discussed the letter of September 20, 1557, written by Jean Brotot, a letter which brought Halbronn to raise the question if this letter was written in 1554, given the names of those to who Nostradamus directed the dedications of his manuscripts.[3] This letter rises the question which parts in the books, attributed to Nostradamus, are supplied by Nostradamus, and which parts are supplied by e.g. the editor. As far as I am concerned, this question is also at stake in the case of the creation years in the Almanachs and Pronostications. Did Nostradamus supply data such as creation years, biblical chronologies, the golden number, market days in Lyon etc. or are these data (or some of them) supplied by others, such as editors?

Since February, this site has a new section: Debate Platform. This section includes, among other articles, the articles I wrote about Les Significations... Mr. Lemesurier is invited to present his ideas and theses about the authenticity of Les Significations... in this section.


De Meern, the Netherlands, March 10, 2005
T.W.M. van Berkel


The titles, places and year of issue of the mentioned authors are listed in the bibliography.

  1. Lemesurier: Nostradamus: the Halbronn hypotheses. [text]

  2. Chevignard, p.382. [text]

  3. See:
    - Astrological anomalies in Almanachs, Pronostications and correspondence;
    - Contribution to a Nostradamus-workshop, MAU, November 2004;
    - Halbronn: Observations sur la Correspondence Nostradamus.  [text]


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