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Gog And Magog In Pre-Islamic, Jewish And Christian Sources

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Chapter Summary

The etymology of Magog is even more uncertain. The real basis for all subsequent Jewish, Christian and ultimately also Islamic descriptions of Gog and Magog as eschatological figures is the frightful vision of the prophet Ezekiel during his Babylonian exile. In later Jewish eschatology the prophecies concerning Gog and Magog occur in particular in the Targumim. The Gog and Magog tradition is also found in the Sibylline Oracles, a Greek collection of various prophesies in which Jewish and Christian ideas allegedly are confirmed by a prophetess. The link between the apocalyptic peoples Gog and Magog on the one hand, and Alexander and the wall he is said to have built on the other, apparently took origin in Jewish Hellenistic circles in Alexandria at the beginning of the Christian era. It is Flavius Josephus (d. around 100) who witnesses at first to the trend.

Keywords: early christian literature; Flavius Josephus; Gog; Islamic descriptions; Jewish eschatology; Magog; Sibylline Oracles; Targumim



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