The Refiner’s Fire: The Collected Works of TheaurauJohn Tany

Annotated, edited and introduced by Ariel Hessayon

cover of The Refiner's Fire

552pp  paperback  156x234mm
ISBN 978-0-9570005-7-5
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click here to download an extract from the book "His Aurora in Tranlagorum in Salem Gloria" [1651]

TheaurauJohn Tany (1608-1659)
Now know I am a mad man. And ye declare me so to be, it will be a weaknesse in you to question me
TheaurauJohn Tany, The Nations Right in Magna Charta (1650), p. 8

I say, and many know, that by madness I came to knowing, and in time God will make me speak plain knowledge, that by all shall be acknowledged
TheaurauJohn Tany, Theous Ori Apokolipikal (1651), pp. 62-63

On Friday, 23 November 1649 Thomas Totney, a puritan and veteran of the Civil War, was working in his goldsmith’s shop at ‘The Three Golden Lions’ in the Strand. He was to claim that after fourteen weeks of self-abasement, fasting and prayer the Lord came upon him in power, overwhelming his wisdom and understanding, smiting him dumb, blind and dead in the presence of hundreds of people. Next his body began to tremble and he was tied down in his bed. During his indescribable sufferings he saw the Passion of Jesus. Then he was transported into God’s presence in the ‘High and holy Mount’ where he beheld a great light shine within him and upon him, saying ‘Theaurau John my servant, I have chosen thee my Shepherd, thou art adorned with the jewel of Exceliency’. He was convinced that the Lord had spoken unto him, changing his name from Thomas to TheaurauJohn.
‘A book that will serve as the definitive collection of Tany texts and ephemera, ably abetted by the rigorous scholarship of Ariel Hessayon. A huge achievement.’
Jarett Kobek, author of I Hate the Internet
‘Thomas Totney, the London goldsmith who became the prophet TheaurauJohn Tany, was one of the most extraordinary figures of the English Revolution. His visionary texts have been almost impenetrable to modern readers, steeped as they are in hermeticism, Behmenism, angelology, Pythagorean mysticism, numerology, alchemy, astrology, heraldry, and apocryphal scriptures. This exemplary edition — the product of more than two decades of research — makes sense of Tany and his writings by documenting his life, identifying his tracts and their reception, placing him among his contemporaries, and guiding readers through a forgotten intellectual world. It is a remarkable example of how meticulous historical scholarship can reconstruct the lives and explore the mentalities of our ancestors.’
John Coffey, Professor of Early Modern History, University of Leicester
‘Thomas Tany — better known as TheaurauJohn Tany — was one of the most significant voices in the radical religious cultures of the mid-seventeenth century. In this edition of his works, Ariel Hessayon, who has done more than anyone to call attention to Tany’s importance, preserves his contribution to the creative chaos of the English revolution. This is a vital resource for the study of the intellectual and religious ferment of the mid-seventeenth century.’
Crawford Gribben, Professor of Early Modern British History, Queen’s University Belfast
‘Ariel Hessayon’s edition of the prophetic writings of Thomas Tany is the fruit of decades of painstaking research, and provides a unique perspective on the world of radical thought and expression during the English Revolution. For the first time, we have a modern edition of the complete works of this extraordinary writer, with an introduction and annotations by the scholar who has done more than anyone else to recover Tany from obscurity and condescension.’
Nicholas McDowell, Professor of Early Modern Literature and Thought, University of Exeter
‘Ariel Hessayon’s erudite edition finally gives the prophet Tany the place and credit he deserves, that of an extraordinary witness and actor of the English Revolution. This extensively documented book offers a unique and powerful insight into the turmoils of the mid seventeenth century, and will be an indispensable read for scholars of the period.’
Lionel Laborie, University of Tübingen
The complete works of TheaurauJohn Tany
A census of extant copies
Biographical appendix