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Sibylline Oracles

Sibylline Oracles


The standard Sibylline Oracles consist of post eventu (after-the-fact) eschatological prophecies in the genre of female prophetesses at pagan oracles. The books in their probable chronological order are:

Book 3, the earliest Jewish oracles, denounces Rome for injustice, idolatry, and homosexuality; and predicts its defeat by a Ptolemy favorable toward the Jews. Book 5 prophesies against various nations, predicts Nero's return and defeat by a heavenly savior, condemns Rome for destroying the temple, and forecasts fiery destruction. Book 4 predicts the destruction of Jerusalem, eruption of Vesuvius, return of Nero, and God's fiery destruction of the earth, followed by the resurrection and final judgment. Book 11 reviews history from the Flood to the death of Cleopatra. Books 1-2 and Book 8 adapt and incorporate Jewish oracles in Christian prophecies of final judgment. Books 9 and 10 duplicate material in Books 1-8. Books 6 and 7 are Christian compositions, including a hymn to Christ. Books 12-14 are later works with no Jewish and few Christian features.


Canonical Status: Among the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha


Written under the pseudonym of a pagan, female, ecstatic prophetess of the oracle of Apollo Anonymous Jewish and Christian authors imitating the style of the pagan sibyls - epic Greek hexameters


Date and Origin:

The earliest oracles from 1st century BC in Egypt The latest from the 3rd century AD


Original Language: Greek

Notes prepared by George Lyons (Professor of Biblical Literature) for the Wesley Center for Applied Theology at Northwest Nazarene University

Copyright 2000 by the Wesley Center for Applied Theology

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