Reading Acts

The eighth Sibylline oracle contains a wealth of clear historical allusions. The first 216 lines are probably Jewish with some Christian interpolations. The second half of the book draws together various sources, nearly all Christian and interested in developing Christology. We are therefore dealing with an oracle at the Christian end of the spectrum, placing Christian theology in the mouth of a pagan seer.

Colossus of NeroThe Sibyl beings with a description of the kingdoms of the world: the Persians, the Medes, the Ethiopians, Assyria Babylon, Macedonia, and then the “famous lawless kingdom of the Italians” (1-16). These kingdoms will be judged, “the mills of God grind fine flour, though late” (14, OTP comments this is an old Greek proverb).

Greed is condemned (17-36). Greed is the “source of impiety and forerunner of disorder, deviser of wars, a hostile troubler of peace” (24-25). Like Revelation 18, the writer characterizes Roman as a…

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