The prophecies of Nostradamus

Roger Walter

Reading — Advanced Level
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Michel de Nostredame (depending on the source, 14 or 21 December 1503 – 1 or 2 July 1566), usually Latinised as Nostradamus, was a French astrologer, physician and reputed seer, who is best known for his book Les Prophéties, a collection of 942 poetic quatrains allegedly predicting future events. The book was first published in 1555 and has rarely been out of print since his death.

In the years since the publication of his Les Prophéties, Nostradamus has attracted a large number of supporters, who, along with much of the popular press, credit him with having accurately predicted many major world events. Most academic sources reject the notion that Nostradamus had any genuine supernatural prophetic abilities and maintain that the associations made between world events and Nostradamus's quatrains are the result of misinterpretations or mistranslations (sometimes deliberate). These academics argue that Nostradamus's predictions are characteristically vague, meaning they could be applied to virtually anything, and are useless for determining whether their author had any real prophetic powers. They also point out that English translations of his quatrains are almost always of extremely poor quality, based on later manuscripts, produced by authors with little knowledge of sixteenth-century French, and often deliberately mistranslated to make the prophecies fit whatever events the translator believed they were supposed to have predicted.
Source: Wikipedia
  1. What is Nostradamus best known for?

  2. The supporters of Nostradamus…

  3. What do most academic sources believe about Nostradamus?

  4. These academics believe that Nostradamus’s predictions…

  5. According to the academics, what are the English translations of the quatrains like?


Practice your writing skills by discussing the questions below

  1. Do you believe that it's possible to predict the future? Why or why not?

  2. Would you like to be able to know what happens in the future? Why or why not?

  3. What, if any, are some prophecies of Nostradamus that you're familiar with?

  4. Who are some other famous prophets?

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      • a book, document, or piece of music written by hand rather than typed or printed
      • accurately describing or predicting what will happen in the future
      • a stanza of four lines, especially one having alternate rhymes
      • be generally said or believed to do something or to have particular characteristics
      • a person who is supposed to be able, through supernatural insight, to see what the future holds
      • of uncertain, indefinite, or unclear character or meaning


    From English
    No translation