Divination and philosophy in the letters of Paul

Research output: Book/ReportBook


This book analyses the apostle Paul’s claims to receive and interpret knowledge from divine sources within the context of divination in the Graeco-Roman world. Each chapter studies a particular aspect of divination in Paul’s letters in comparison with similar phenomena in the Graeco-Roman world, dealing in turn with the underlying logic of divination (in the context of ancient philosophical conversations), visionary experience, prophecy and divine speech, the divinatory use of texts and the interpretation of signs. As such, the book forms an in-depth study of divine communication in Paul’s letters, integrating this theme with the broader topics of cosmology, anthropology, eschatology and theology.

While New Testament texts and early Christian figures have traditionally been studied from the vantage point of theological categories (such as ‘revelation’) that isolate early Christianity from its historical context in the Graeco-Roman world, this book re-reads Paul’s thought and practice concerning divine communication within, not against, the Graeco-Roman thought and practice of divination. In doing so it illuminates the coherence and connections both between Paul and his historical context and between diverse topics of Paul’s letters that have usually been studied in isolation from each other.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEdinburgh
PublisherEdinburgh University Press
Number of pages235
ISBN (Electronic)9781399503594
ISBN (Print)9781399503570
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023

Publication series

NameEdinburgh studies in religion in antiquity


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