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The Oracular Process: Delphi and the Near East

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image of Vetus Testamentum

The famous Oracle of Apollo at Delphi and various prophetic centers in the ancient Near East have provided extensive but incomplete bodies of reports about oracular activity. Though one cannot find significant interconnections, the two bodies of evidence are complementary and can be mutually informative about the respective oracular processes and the importance of their roles, about what we know and what we do not know in each instance. A comparative analysis is suggestive regarding the background of the oracular speakers, the process of selection, and perseverance in place. The differing bodies of evidence illuminate, inter alia, the process of formulating and presenting questions to the deity for oracular response, the importance of ecstacy in the process, and the capacity of the oracular speakers to produce intelligible, even elegant and rather poetic oracles on their own.

Affiliations: 1: Madison, NJ, USA


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