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Greek Seers and Israelite-Jewish Prophets

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image of Vetus Testamentum

Ancient Greek seers (manteis) and Ancient Near Eastern prophets have often been compared with each other. Although in rare cases Greek seers communicate a divine message to a wider audience and are thus comparable to Ancient Near Eastern prophets and Israelite-Jewish prophets in particular, Greek seers are distinctly different from Ancient Near Eastern prophets. In most cases Greek seers employ forms of deductive divination while the use of deductive divination is the exception with Israelite-Jewish prophets. If Greek seers use intuitive divination they do not rely on divine revelations but have special ability to perceive more than normal human beings. Although Ancient Near Eastern prophets and Greek manteis do thus not equate, the comparison of the two sheds better light on the characteristics of both. On the one hand, the Ancient Near Eastern understanding of the prophet emphasizes heavily his reliance on divine revelation. This is especially true for Israelite and Jewish prophets. On the other hand, the Greek mantis acts mostly as a diviner in his own right. His special insights and knowledge go back to his abilities.

Affiliations: 1: Vienna


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