Volume 56, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2542-6583
  • E-ISSN: 2590-3268



The third book of the Sibylline Oracles was probably written in Asia Minor between 80 and 40 BCE. The author was a Jew who lived in one of Asia’s Greek cities, during, or shortly after the wars of Mithridates, king of Pontus, against the Roman empire. In many of the Greek cities it was hoped that Mithridates would restore them to the freedom which they had lost when Asia was made a Roman province (in 133 BCE). Therefore they sided with Mithridates. However, the Romans defeated Mithridates, and the ‘disloyal’ cities had to pay a high tribute to the Romans. The third Sibylline book shows that at least some Jews living in Asia Minor sympathized with the Greek inhabitants of the cities and hoped for revenge on Rome. Apparently, the author identified himself with the society of which he formed part. The author’s choice to express his message in pagan, Sibylline oracles corroborates this view. Sibylline prophecy was popular in Asia Minor in particular, which province was generally thought to have been the prophetess’ home. The Jewish author combined his hope for Asia’s revenge on Rome with the traditional Jewish expectation of a future divine intervention in world history. After this intervention, Jerusalem would be the centre of a new Jewish world-empire. Also, the author’s reconstruction of the Sibyl’s origin is a combination of Jewish and non-Jewish traditions.


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