WHAT IS THE FIFTH SIBYLLINE ORACLE ? by STEPHEN FELDER University of California, Irvine Summary Can The Fifth Sibylline Oracle be useful for the study of Second Temple Judaism? J.J. Collins thought so, and John M.G. Barclay has attempted to use it in his construction of Jewish life and thought in the Mediterranean Diaspora. But David S. Potter and Erich Gruen have cautioned that because the Sibylline Oracles were preserved by Christians and subjected to exten- sive redaction and interpolation, they cannot be dated with any certainty and therefore cannot be reliably used for the study of Second Temple Judaism. In this article I attempt to identify and date two clear strata in The Fifth Sibylline Oracle , explaining how the document came into its nal, or near- nal form. Then I make some preliminary suggestions regarding what The Fifth Sibylline Oracle may tell us about Second Temple Judaism. Background: The Fifth Sibylline Oracle and the Sibylline Tradition The Fifth Sibylline Oracle is a collection of 531 verses of Greek hexa- meter poetry containing predictions of doom and gloom for various cities in Asia Minor, Egypt, and Rome. It also contains other “prophe- cies” which praise the
Journal for the Study of Judaism – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2002
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