n Ekklesiastikos Pharos - The rise of Christian oracles in the shadow of the Apollo cults

Volume 90, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1018-9556



Among the religions of antiquity two of the most vibrant expressions of oracular activity were to be found in Judaism and the cults of Apollo. In the first century AD a sect arose within Judaism that believed a prophet called Jesus was the messiah. As this movement grew and spread geographically, particularly to Asia Minor and Greece, its followers were mainly hellenized Jews and Gentiles. Prophecy was to comprise an important dimension within nascent Christianity, and early Christian literature often mentions prophecy and its use within the churches. The contextual background of such activity for Gentile believers was not Judaism but rather the Mediterranean oracular cults, especially the cults of Apollo. This paper will explore various convergences and divergences regarding their respective oracular activity. It will also examine the sociological and theological hallmarks distinguishing the cults of Apollo and early Christianity. The paper concludes by elucidating the result of the collisive intersection between these religious movements that occurred in the late Roman period.

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