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Early Christianity




In dealing with the demand of Stephan Palmié, Charles Stewart and Dipesh Chakrabarty to extend the understanding of "history" to the intervention of gods, spirits or superhuman beings, the present article deals with two ancient texts, Revelation 12 and Sibling 4, which speak of the past through divine revelation. These two texts present the past in such a way that their rhetorical means at least potentially call into question the prophecies of Apollo. They refer to certain traditions that are connected with Apollo - in particular the founding myth of the Shrine of Delphi and the legends about the inspiration of the Sibyls through Apollo - and contrast them with alternative interpretations of history. They are rewriting the past, breaking the foundations of Apollo's prophetic authority. With Robert G. Hall it can be said that Rev 12 and Sib 4 use the rhetorical strategy of the "revealed history" in this process. In the prophetic rivalry with Apollo, this opens up the possibility of questioning both the ancient traditions of this god and his reliability as a source of knowledge about the past.



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Mohr Siebeck




Author Posting © Mohr Siebeck, 2019. This article is posted here by permission of Mohr Siebeck for personal use, not for redistribution. The article was published in Early Christianity, Volume 10, Issue 4, January 2020,

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.