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Ancient Divination and Experience

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ISBN: 9780198844549 Year: Pages: 320 DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198844549.001.0001 Language: English
Publisher: Oxford University Press Grant: Leverhulme Trust
Subject: Religion --- History --- Languages and Literatures
Added to DOAB on : 2020-06-25 00:00:25
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Abstract

The introduction to this volume describes the contribution that it makes to scholarship on ancient divinatory practices. It analyses previous and current research, arguing that while this predominantly functionalist work reveals important socio-political dimensions of divination, it also runs the risk of obscuring from view the very people, ideologies, and experiences that scholars seek to understand. It explains that the essays in this volume focus on re-examining what ancient people—primarily those in ancient Greek and Roman communities, but also Mesopotamian and Chinese cultures—thought they were doing through divination. The Introduction provides an overview of the content of each chapter and identifies key themes and questions shared across chapters. The volume explores the types of relationships that divination created between mortals and gods, and what this can tell us about the religions and cultures in which divination was practised.

Ancient Prophecy

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ISBN: 9780198808558 Year: Pages: 480 DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198808558.001.0001 Language: English
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Subject: Religion --- History
Added to DOAB on : 2019-05-14 11:21:02
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This book is a comprehensive treatment of the ancient prophetic phenomenon as it comes to us through biblical, Near Eastern, and Greek sources. Once a distinctly biblical concept, prophecy is today acknowledged as yet another form of divination and a phenomenon that can be found all over the ancient Eastern Mediterranean. Even Greek oracle, traditionally discussed separately from biblical and Mesopotamian prophecy, is essentially part of the same picture. The book gives an up-to-date presentation of textual sources, whether cuneiform tablets from Mesopotamia, the Hebrew Bible, Greek inscriptions, or ancient historians, the number of which has increased substantially in recent times. In addition, the book includes comparative essays on topics such as prophetic ecstasy; temples as venues of prophetic performances; prophets and political rulers; and the prophets’ gender which can be either male, female, or non-gendered. The book argues for a common category of ancient Eastern Mediterranean prophecy, even though the fragmentary and secondary nature of the sources allows only a restricted view to it. The ways prophetic divination manifests itself in ancient sources depend not only on the socio-religious position of the prophets but also on the genre and purpose of the sources. The book shows that, even though the view of the ancient prophetic landscape is restricted by the fragmentary and secondary nature of the sources, it is possible to reconstruct essential features of prophetic divination.

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