Christian Divination in Late Antiquity
Title
Christian Divination in Late Antiquity
Price
€ 105,00
ISBN
9789462988705
Format
Hardback
Number of pages
288
Language
English
Publication date
Dimensions
15.6 x 23.4 cm
Table of Contents
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INTRODUCTION
The current state of research
The evidence and its intricacies
Objectives and plan of the book
CHAPTER 1 - ATTITUDES TO DIVINATION
Pagan divination
Attitudes to non-pagan divination
Legal background
CHAPTER 2 - PROPHETS
The twilight of prophecy in early Christianity
A resurgence of prophecy
Consultation with prophets
Questions and questioners
Self-perception of the prophets
CHAPTER 3 - TAKE AND READ: READING THE FUTURE FROM THE BIBLE
First words heard
First words read
Examination of biblical prophecies
CHAPTER 4 - BOOKS AND BONES
Sortes sanctorum
Sortes Monacenses
The Gospel of the Lots of Mary
Sortes Sangallenses
Codices with hermeneiai
Other divinatory books
Experts and clients
CHAPTER 5 - DIVINATORY LOTS
Oracular tickets
Origins
Inquirers, attitudes and popularity
CHAPTER 6 - INTERROGATING DEMONIACS
Saints and energumens
A Gallic female seer and spiritus pythonis
Pythones, engastrimythoi, ventriloqui, arrepticii
Consultations in Constantinople and Egypt
CHAPTER 7 - INCUBATION
Early developments
'Pagan' and Christian Incubation
Incubation sanctuaries
Incubation in practice
Popularity, resistance and discussions
CONCLUSIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHY
Abbreviations
Primary sources
Secondary sources
INDEX
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Robert Wisniewski

Christian Divination in Late Antiquity

In Late Antiquity, people commonly sought to acquire hidden knowledge about the past, the present, and the future, using a variety of methods. While Christians acknowledged that these methods could work effectively, in theory they were not allowed to make use of them. In practice, they behaved in diverse ways. Some probably renounced any hope of learning about the future. Others resorted to old practices regardless of the consequences. A third option was to construct divinatory methods that were effective yet religiously tolerable. This book is devoted to the study of such practices and their practitioners, and provides answers to essential questions concerning Christian divination. How did it develop? How closely were Christian methods related to older, traditional practices? Who used them and in which situations? Who offered oracular services? And how were they perceived by clerics, intellectuals, and common people?
Author

Robert Wisniewski

Robert Wisniewski (University of Warsaw) researches the religious transformations of Late Antiquity, and particularly the cult of saints and relics, clergy, demonology, and divination. He is the author of The Beginnings of the Cult of Relics, Oxford University Press 2018.