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The Devil's TabernacleThe Pagan Oracles in Early Modern Thought$
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Anthony Ossa-Richardson

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691157115

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691157115.001.0001

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(p.46) Chapter Two Demons
The Devil's Tabernacle

Anthony Ossa-Richardson

Princeton University Press

This chapter describes in some detail the place of the oracles in Christian theology. In the sixteenth century, the pagan oracles became anchored firmly in Christian demonology, whose foundation had changed little since Aquinas. That demonology had two aspects of relevance: the physical problem of possession, and the moral and epistemological problem of divination. As the oracles became rooted in theory, their symbolic value, always there in the background, grew much more significant. At the end of the century the Pythia of Alessandro and Rhodiginus was posited, almost universally, as the antithesis of the biblical prophets and, by extension, of holy truth. She had become involved in the learned construction of Christian identity.

Keywords:   oracles, Christian theology, pagan antiquity, demonology, possession, divination, Christian demonology, Christian identity

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