Sibylline Oracles

Sibylline Oracles
Catalog # SKU0856
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Milton S. Terry
 
$13.99
Quantity

Description

Sibylline Oracles

Milton S. Terry

Sibylline Oracles

Translated by Milton S. Terry

1st Published 1899 BC

Excerpt:

THE Sibyls occupy a conspicuous place in the traditions and history of ancient Greece and Rome. Their fame was spread abroad long before the beginning of the Christian era. Heraclitus of Ephesus, five centuries before Christ, compared himself to the Sibyl "who, speaking with inspired mouth, without a smile, without ornament, and without perfume, penetrates through centuries by the power of the gods." The ancient traditions vary in reporting the number and the names of these weird prophetesses, and much of what has been handed down to us is legendary. But whatever opinion one may hold respecting the various legends, there can be little doubt that a collection of Sibylline Oracles was at one time preserved at Rome. There are, moreover, various oracles, purporting to have been written by ancient Sibyls, found in the writings of Pausanias, Plutarch, Livy, and in other Greek and Latin authors. Whether any of these citations formed a portion of the Sibylline books once kept in Rome we cannot now determine; but the Roman capitol was destroyed by fire in the time of Sulla (B. C. 84), and again in the time of Vespasian (A. D. 69), and whatever books were at those dates kept therein doubtless perished in the flames. It is said by some of the ancients that a subsequent collection of oracles was made, but, if so, there is now no certainty that any fragments of them remain.

The twelve books of Greek hexameters, of which a rhythmic English translation is furnished in the following pages, have been in existence for more than a thousand years, and may be properly called the Pseudo-Sibyllines. They belong to that large body of pseudepigraphical literature which flourished near the beginning of the Christian era (about B. C. 150-A. D. 300), and which consists of such works as the Book of Enoch, the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, the Book of Jubilees, the Assumption of Moses, the Psalms of Solomon, the Ascension of Isaiah, and the Fourth Book of Esdras. The production of this class of literature was most notable at Alexandria in the time of the Ptolemies. The influence of Greek civilization and culture upon the large Jewish population of the Egyptian metropolis, and the marked favors shown this people in that country, turned them far from the strict usages of their Palestinian brethren. No fact could more strikingly show the results of this foreign influence than the building of the temple and altar at Leontopolis, as described by Josephus (Ant. xiii, 3). If the son of the high priest Onias saw propriety in converting a heathen temple to the worship of Almighty God, and building it after the pattern of the one in Jerusalem, we need not wonder that the religious and literary taste of the Alexandrian Jews found gratification in harmonizing Hebrew traditions and Greek philosophy. The ingenuity that found in Isa. xix, 19, a warrant for the building of such a temple and altar might easily discover among the responses of heathen oracles much that was capable of appearing to great advantage in a Jewish dress. In this way, no doubt, arose the Jewish Sibyl, assuming to be a daughter-in-law of Noah, and skilled in prophetic knowof the Persians, the mysteries of Egyptian priests, and the poetical myths and legends of all nations contributed to the medley which Hellenistic Jews were fond of turning to a pious purpose.

End Excerpt


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