The SIbylline Oracles: With Introduction, Translation, and Commentary on the First and Second Books

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In this book, J. L. Lightfoot throws a bridge between two mutually ignorant areas: pagan oracles and Judaeo-Christian studies. The Sibyl was a legendary figure in Greco-Roman antiquity who was credited with verse prophecies, often of an apocalyptic character. Lightfoot describes how she was taken over by Jews in the Hellenistic period, and later by Christians, as a vehicle for their own understandings of prophecy. She explores what those understandings were, and describes how the message was then clothed in the very distinctive and mannered pagan idiom that was the hallmark of Sibylline prophecy. The volume contains an edition, translation, and commentary on the undeservedly neglected first and second books of extant oracles. The commentary illustrates some of the ways in which biblical scriptures were represented and recast in an oracular idiom, and pays particular attention to the oracle's most noteworthy feature, its extraordinarily rich description of the Day of Judgement.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199215461
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 2/25/2008
  • Pages: 700
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.30 (h) x 1.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Bibliographical Note     xvi
Abbreviations     xvii
Editions     xx
Sigla     xxiii
Sibyls and Sibylline Prophecy
The Sibyl     3
Inspiration and Ecstasy     8
Human and Divine     14
Written and Oral     16
From Pagan Seer to Judaeo-Christian Prophetess     18
God     24
Prophecy     51
Pseudonymity, Ascription, and the Identity of the Sibyl     51
'Second-Order' Prophecy     55
The Sibyl and Enoch     70
The Sibyl and the Heathen     77
Coda     92
From Or. Sib. 3 to Or. Sib. 1-2: Apocalyptic, History, and Eschatology     94
Anatomy of Books 3 and 1-2     94
Diachronic Prophecy     106
History in Books 1-2     109
Universal History: Protology and Eschatology     114
World Ages     121
The Contents of the Historical Review: Enoch and Other Apocrypha     126
Eschatology     127
Internal Logic     128
Source-Criticism and the Apocalypse of Peter     131
An Argument for Coherence     143
Eschatology and Ethics     144
Last Thoughts on the Composition of Or. Sib. 1-2     148
Language, Style, Poetics     153
Metre     154
Composing Sibylline Hexameters     162
Lexicon     170
Word-Formation     170
Morphology and Inflection     175
Syntax     179
Style     192
Contexts     203
The Classical Background: Use of Pagan Myth     203
Pagan Divine Names and Other Mythologoumena     204
Giants and Titans: Hesiodic Myth and Proto-history     207
The Judaeo-Christian Background: Use of the Bible     219
Or. Sib. 3     220
Or. Sib. 1-2     242
Or. sib. 1-2: Text, Translation, Commentary
The Manuscript Tradition of Or. Sib. 1-2     257
The Vagaries of Tradition     257
Manuscripts     263
Principles of this Edition     268
Sigla     269
[characters not reproducible]     272
The Sibylline Oracles from the First Logos     304
Commentary     322
1.1-4 Proem     322
1.5-21 The Creation     323
1.22-64 The Creation of Man and Expulsion from Eden     331
1.65-86 The First Generation     348
1.87-103 The Second Generation     352
1.104-8 The Third Generation     362
1.109-19 The Fourth Generation     363
1.120-282 The Fifth Generation and the Flood     364
1.283-307 The Sixth Generation     410
1.307-23 The Seventh Generation     415
1.323a-31 The Birth of Christ and the Riddle on His Name     418
1.332-86 The Ministry, Passion, and Resurrection     424
1.387-400 The Fall of Jerusalem     440
2.1-5 Transition     443
2.6-33 The Tenth Generation     444
2.34-55 The Contest of Virtue     449
2.56-148 Sapientia Sibyllae     456
2.149-53 The Contest of Virtue (Resumed)     467
2.154-64 Signs of the End     468
2.165-93 The False Prophets; Beliar; the Ten Tribes; Wakefulness; Elijah; Celestial Portents     471
2.194-213 Cosmic Disaster     482
2.214-37 The Resurrection     488
2.238-51 Assembly at the Tribunal     497
2.252-4 The River of Fire     500
2.255-83 The Catalogue of Sinners     502
2.284-312 Punishments     514
2.313-38 Paradise     521
2.339-47 Sphragis      532
Appendices     535
Predications of God and Divine Epithets in the Sibylline Oracles     535
Analyses of Books 1-2     552
Sources and Parallels     554
Bibliography     564
Index of Passages Discussed     583
Index of Greek Words     589
Index of Hebrew Words     593
General Index     595
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