Death, Demise, and the Decline of Prophecy

In: Religion and Theology
Olivia Stewart Lester Loyola University Chicago USA Chicago, IL

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This article examines Apollo’s prophecy at Delphi as well as prophecy in ancient Judaism and ancient Christianity in light of recent scholarship on the demise of religions. I argue that two questions remain about ancient narratives of decline amidst the scholarship on the death of religions. First, how should scholars engage ancient narratives of decline that threaten to erase other practices, beliefs, and rhetoric? Second, what about the challenges of defining a ‘religion’ that declines? Brent Nongbri has suggested that categories other than religion may provide more fruitful avenues for describing antiquity; I argue that prophecy is one such category.

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