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Sibylline Oracles

SIBYLLINE ORACLES, sĭb’ ə lēn. Fifteen books of prophecies or oracles, containing Jewish, Christian, and pagan elements, written in imitation of pagan oracles. Sibyl was a prophetess of Cumae. The original Sibylline books are supposed to have burned in Rome’s fire of 82 b.c. In the attempt to supplement and replace them, “false” oracles in the classical form were produced. These date from c. 150 b.c. to about a.d. 300, perhaps later. They are mentioned in such church fathers as Hermas, Justin, Theophilus of Antioch, Clement of Alexandria.

The oracles mention such topics as creation, flood, Christ’s career and Cross, the destruction of Jerusalem. There are references to the conquest of Egypt by Rome, the building of the tower of Babel, the siege of Troy, and the world conquest of Alexander. Some eschatological portions written from Christian perspective deal with such topics as great world empires, final purgation. The oracles differ from apocalyptic in being missionary tracts rather than secret doctrine.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

sib’-i-lin, -lin.

See Apocalyptic Literature, sec. V.

sib’-i-lin, -lin or’-a-k’-lz.

See Apocalyptic Literature, sec. B, V.

See also

  • Apocalyptic Literature
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