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Clement of Alexandria and the Sibylline Oracles


Clement of Alexandria and the Sibylline Oracles

Bergo Tremblay, Miriam (2014) Clement of Alexandria and the Sibylline Oracles. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Clement of Alexandria, recognized as the most Greek among early Christian writers, is one of the patristic authors who quotes the Sibylline Oracles. Originally a collection of Greco-Roman oracles that were believed to have been uttered by the ancient prophetess Sibyl, the original Sibylline texts were a powerful tool for political and religious resistance throughout the Hellenistic world. The original oracles are not extant, but the Sibylline Oracles, a Judeo-Christian collection of pseudepigrapha oracles that closely mimic the original Greco-Roman Sibylline prophecies and which were believed to be authentic until the seventeenth century, has survived almost in its entirety, and is quoted by several patristic authors, including Clement.
The symbiosis between Clement and the Sibyl has been commonly exaggerated in scholarship until recently, perhaps blindfolded by the apparent positive treatment that Clement grants to the Sibyl – to the point of attributing to her the title of Hebrew prophetess – in comparison to other patristic authors. The present study focuses on the use of the Sibylline Oracles by Clement and his relationship with the Sibyl within his work and in relation to his overall rhetoric. Although the Sibyl played a prominent role in Clement’s discourse of Christian precedence and Christianity as an universal race, as one progresses through the three stages of his three-fold work – a trilogy comprising the Protrepticus, Pedagogus and Stromateis, which represented three different steps in the quest of Clement’s disciple towards becoming the true Gnostic – it becomes clear that Clement’s view on the Sibyl fluctuates, and is more complex than has previously been assumed.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Religions and Cultures
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Bergo Tremblay, Miriam
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:History and Philosophy of Religion
Date:19 August 2014
Thesis Supervisor(s):DiTommaso, L.
Keywords:Clement of Alexandria, Sibyl, Sibylline Oracles, Gnosticism, Jewish pseudepigrapha
ID Code:978951
Deposited On:06 Nov 2014 16:20
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:48
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