An Extract from Pseudo-Phocylides – Sibylline Oracles, Book 2.56-148


Reading Acts

Phocylides was a sixth century B.C. poet who was, in the ancient world, well-known as an author of maxims and proverbs applicable to daily life (See P. W. Van Der Horst, “Pseudo-Phocylides” in OTP 2:565-582; ABD 5:347-348; “Pseudo-Phocylides and the New Testament,” ZNW 69 (1978) 187-202; “Pseudo-Phocylides Revisited.” JSP 3 (1988): 3-30).

Pseudo-PhocylidesIn the first century B.C. it appears a diaspora Jew created 230 lines of poetry in the name of Phocylides in order to demonstrate to the gentiles that Judaism is a rational religion. The point was not to convert, but to create “sympathizers” among the gentiles (OTP 2:566). In the Sibylline Oracles, these lines are used as “criteria” for the judgment just described (Collins, “Sibylline Oracles,” in ABD 6:4). There is a “frame” at the end of this section returns to the idea of a context (lines 149-153). Since these lines will be covered in more detail…

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