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Christian Sibyllines

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Modern Translations:

Estimated Range of Dating: 80-250 A.D.

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Information on Christian Sibyllines

Ursula Treu writes (New Testament Apocrypha, p. 653): "the so-called Oracula Sibyllina are preserved in a collection of twelve 'books' of very differing length, from 162 to 829 hexameters. Book VI, the Christ hymn, is an extreme case with only 28 verses. Altogether there are over 4000 verses of the Sibylline Oracles. The Sibyl constantly speaks in the first person, and the tense is almost always the future. Since Book VIII originally appears in three separate parts, we find occasionally, especially in earlier scholars, a reckoning of fourteen books. We can only conjecture as to the details of who combined the poems into a unity, and when and where this was done."

Ursula Treu writes (New Testament Apocrypha, p. 654): "the several books came into being somewhere in the period from 180 B.C. to the 3rd Christian century. This has to be deduced from the persons and events mentioned in the poems themselves, which leaves room for many an error, insofar as quotations in other writers of this period do not provide a terminus ante quem. Here of course we can only deal, briefly, with the texts in the present selection, and Books IX-XII are also left aside. Book III in its original Jewish form was probably the first to be composed, in Alexandria; Book VI, as purely Christian, certainly came into being later, while VII and VIII are predominantly Christian. In Book VIII there is a famous acrostic (lines 217ff.): Jesus Christ Son of God Saviour Cross. According to Eusebius (Constant. or. c. 18, Euseb. I, p. 179, GCS 1902) the emperor Constantine quoted this, and Augustine also cites it in a Latin translation (Civ. Dei XVIII c. 23)."

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Kirby, Peter. "Christian Sibyllines." Early Christian Writings. <>.