Did the ancient Greek prophetesses, especially the Pythian priestesses in Delphi, speak in tongues and the Christians later adapted it?
The alleged connection between the two is an important one in the speaking in tongues debate. A dispute which this article seeks to look deeper into.
The approach used to find an answer is to locate the primary Hellenistic texts that make this connection and evaluate them. The article provides English translations along with the majority having Greek or Latin sources. Each reference contains a brief analysis. The reader is not required to know either one of these languages to examine the works and can easily skip over these foreign texts.
Table of Contents
- Introduction and Summary
- The Greek prophetesses and Glossolalia
- The classical sources on alleged glossolalia
- Herodotus The Histories
- Virgil in The Aeneid
- Lukan’s The Civil War
- Plutarch’s Moralia
- Michael Psellos
- Rohde’s Psyche: Cult of Souls
Introduction and Summary
For those readers who want a quick answer and do not want to look into the details, the conclusion is no, the ancient Greek prophetesses did not speak in glossolalia. Many readers that habitually come to this website do not accept such a conclusion literally unless there is substantiation. The purpose of this article is to collate the original pieces of literature in their source language and make a thorough analysis.
Before starting, for those not familiar with the subject, here is an introductory video on the Delphi temple and how the Greek priestesses operated. The video covers almost every aspect of the Delphic priestess role and provides an excellent background to the subject matter. Some graphics are wonky, and the coverage does not address glossolalia, but it does adequately set the scene.
The Greek prophetesses and Glossolalia
The christian doctrine of speaking in tongues has had three significant movements over the 2000 years. The first one was the traditional one that lasted for 1800 years that it was either a miracle of speaking, hearing, or both. The second one was far smaller in influence and began after the Reformation called cessationism. This is a conservative Protestant faction that believes all miracles had ceased in the earlier church, and thus, any practice of speaking in tongues is false. This doctrine continues today. A third movement sprung up in the 1800s through the agency of German protestant scholars who used a groundbreaking methodology called Higher Criticism to interpret speaking in tongues. This interpretation resulted in a new doctrine called glossolalia.
Instead of tracing the christian history of speaking in tongues through church literature and ultimately ending up at Pentecost, Higher Criticists took an entirely different path. They felt that most ancient christian literature was based on myth and could not be used as objective data. The better alternative was to trace speaking in tongues through classical sources such as Plutarch, Strabo, and others. Therefore, their history goes to ancient Greece before the advent of Christianity and focuses on the caves of Delphi and Dadona where the ancient Greek prophetesses would utter their prophecies.
Glossolalia is the dominant interpretational schema today. As outlined in the series, A History of Glossolalia, it has dominated the recent discussion so much that it has all but erased the memory of the traditional definition that existed for 1800 years. Glossolalia is found ubiquitously throughout the primary, secondary, and tertiary literature. However, critical evaluation of the Hellenistic sources used by Higher Criticists that trace back to the beginnings of Christianity is rare. The following is a collation and analysis of the significant sources in Hellenistic writings on the Greek prophetesses allegedly speaking in tongues.
The connection between ancient Greek prophetesses and glossolalia
Aristophanes (446 to 386 BC) was one of the premier Attic Greek comedic playright and poets.
The highly controversial Johannes Behm,1 contributor to the section on tongues in the highly influential, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, cited Aristophanes’ work, Frogs, to reinforce his argument that speaking in tongues was a syncretism with Hellenism.2.
Here is the quote that contains the use of tongues from Frogs:
In Corinth, therefore, glossolalia is an unintelligible ecstatic utterance. One of its forms of expression is a muttering of words or sounds without interconnection or meaning. Parallels may be found for this phenomenon in various forms and at various periods and places in religious history. In Gk. religion there is a series of comparable phenomena from the enthusiastic cult of the Thracian Dionysus with its γλώττης βακχεια (Aristoph. R., 357) to the divinatory manticism of the Delphic Phrygia, of the Bacides, the Sybils etc.3
Ian Johnson has provided a recent translation:
the ones who’ve never seen or danced
the noble Muses’ ritual songs,
or played their part in Bacchic rites
of bull-devouring Cratinus4
Aristophanes references Cratinus—a master of Athenian comedy as τοῦ ταυροφάγου γλώττης, a bull-devourer. It is hyperbole about Cratinus’ comedic talent. How this applies to the Delphic tongues or anything remotely connected to ecstasy is hard to grasp. The only relationship between the two is that Aristophanes died in Delphi.
For those interested in the Greek:
ἢ γενναίων ὄργια Μουσῶν μήτ᾽ εἶδεν μήτ᾽ ἐχόρευσεν,
μηδὲ Κρατίνου τοῦ ταυροφάγου γλώττης Βακχεῖ᾽ ἐτελέσθη, 5
The noun γλῶττα is a regional variant of γλῶσσα.
Perhaps, Behm is building from the quotation of Frogs found in Plutarch’s Moralia in the section titled, Were the Athenians More Famous in War or in Wisdom? Plutarch gives some extra context preceding the passage at hand.
Then from this entrance let the poets approach, speaking and chanting to the accompaniment of flutes and lyres…6
The Greek of this text reads.
ἔνθεν μὲν δὴ προσίτωσαν ὑπ’ αὐλοῖς καὶ λύραις ποιηταὶ λέγοντες καὶ ᾄδοντες,…7
The closest association to anything referring to ecstatic utterances is ᾄδοντες, adontes, which primarily means to sing or chant. It can also mean to imitate the sounds of animals or objects.8 The context here strongly suggests singing or chanting, and even if it did refer to the imitation of other animals or objects, it still does not correlate to Delphic or Christian tongues.
This reference should be withdrawn from the tongues debate. It has no connection.
Herodotus The Histories
“The Histories. . . of Herodotus is now considered the founding work of history in Western literature. Written in 440 BC in the Ionic dialect of classical Greek, The Histories serves as a record of the ancient traditions, politics, geography, and clashes of various cultures that were known in Western Asia, Northern Africa and Greece at that time. . . Although not a fully impartial record, it remains one of the West’s most important sources regarding these affairs.”9
Herodotus refers to the ancient Delphian prophetess speaking in hexameter verse10 that was clearly spoken. One can find the actual citations in the footnote, and there is nothing in any one of them that relates to tongues-speech. Therefore, it is not necessary to provide the Greek text.
Plato is one of the most revered Greek writers and philosophers of all time. He lived in the fourth-century BC. If one wants to substantiate any Greek theme and Plato supports it, then the argument has a winning probability. In the case of an ancient Greek priestess speaking ecstatically in his work, there are only two close references. These are not substantial but here are the references to reinforce this fact.
“Plato’s Phaedrus is a rich and enigmatic text that treats a range of important philosophical issues, including metaphysics, the philosophy of love, and the relation of language to reality, especially in regard to the practices of rhetoric and writing.”11 It is hard to see what the connection with glossolalia is here.
[244b] and the priestesses at Dodona when they have been mad have conferred many splendid benefits upon Greece both in private and in public affairs, but few or none when they have been in their right minds; and if we should speak of the Sibyl and all the others who by prophetic inspiration have foretold many things to many persons and thereby made them fortunate afterwards, anyone can see that we should speak a long time. And it is worth while to adduce also the fact that those men of old who invented names thought that madness was neither shameful nor disgraceful.12
[244β] Δωδώνῃ ἱέρειαι μανεῖσαι μὲν πολλὰ δὴ καὶ καλὰ ἰδίᾳ τε καὶ δημοσίᾳ τὴνἙλλάδα ἠργάσαντο, σωφρονοῦσαι δὲ βραχέα ἢ οὐδέν: καὶ ἐὰν δὴ λέγωμεν Σίβυλλάν τεκαὶ ἄλλους, ὅσοι μαντικῇ χρώμενοι ἐνθέῳ πολλὰ δὴ πολλοῖς προλέγοντες εἰς τὸμέλλον ὤρθωσαν, μηκύνοιμεν ἂν δῆλα παντὶ λέγοντες. τόδε μὴν ἄξιονἐπιμαρτύρασθαι, ὅτι καὶ τῶν παλαιῶν οἱ τὰ ὀνόματα τιθέμενοι οὐκ αἰσχρὸν ἡγοῦντοοὐδὲ ὄνειδος μανίαν:13
“Timaeus . . . is one of Plato’s dialogues, mostly in the form of a long monologue given by the title character Timaeus of Locri, written c. 360 BC. The work puts forward speculation on the nature of the physical world and human beings. . .”14 Plato is describing how the human mind can touch the divine. He believed a normal rational mind cannot connect and must be in an altered state to do such. Whatever vision, apparition, or speech that occurs in an altered state must be interpreted by a person of a stable or rational mind. The speech itself that Plato refers to is not glossolalia or ecstatic speech. Rather he relates the process required finding out the meaning behind the difficult imagery or words.
[71e] as good as they possibly could, rectified the vile part of us by thus establishing therein the organ of divination, that it might in some degree lay hold on truth. And that God gave unto man’s foolishness the gift of divination a sufficient token is this: no man achieves true and inspired divination when in his rational mind, but only when the power of his intelligence is fettered in sleep or when it is distraught by disease or by reason of some divine inspiration. But it belongs to a man when in his right mind to recollect and ponder both the things spoken in dream or waking vision by the divining and inspired nature, and all the visionary forms that were seen, and by means of reasoning to discern about them all
[72a] wherein they are significant and for whom they portend evil or good in the future, the past, or the present. But it is not the task of him who has been in a state of frenzy, and still continues therein, to judge the apparitions and voices seen or uttered by himself; for it was well said of old that to do and to know one’s own and oneself belongs only to him who is sound of mind. Wherefore also it is customary to set the tribe of prophets to pass judgement
[72b] upon these inspired divinations; and they, indeed, themselves are named “diviners” by certain who are wholly ignorant of the truth that they are not diviners but interpreters of the mysterious voice and apparition, for whom the most fitting name would be “prophets of things divined.”
For these reasons, then, the nature of the liver is such as we have stated and situated in the region we have described, for the sake of divination. Moreover, when the individual creature is alive this organ affords signs that are fairly manifest, but when deprived of life it becomes blind and the divinations it presents are too much obscured to have any15
[71ε] ἡμῶν, ἵνα ἀληθείας πῃ προσάπτοιτο, κατέστησαν ἐν τούτῳ τὸ μαντεῖον. ἱκανὸν δὲσημεῖον ὡς μαντικὴν ἀφροσύνῃ θεὸς ἀνθρωπίνῃ δέδωκεν: οὐδεὶς γὰρ ἔννουςἐφάπτεται μαντικῆς ἐνθέου καὶ ἀληθοῦς, ἀλλ᾽ ἢ καθ᾽ ὕπνον τὴν τῆς φρονήσεωςπεδηθεὶς δύναμιν ἢ διὰ νόσον, ἢ διά τινα ἐνθουσιασμὸν παραλλάξας. ἀλλὰ συννοῆσαιμὲν ἔμφρονος τά τε ῥηθέντα ἀναμνησθέντα ὄναρ ἢ ὕπαρ ὑπὸ τῆς μαντικῆς τε καὶἐνθουσιαστικῆς φύσεως, καὶ ὅσα ἂν φαντάσματα
[72α] ὀφθῇ, πάντα λογισμῷ διελέσθαι ὅπῃ τι σημαίνει καὶ ὅτῳ μέλλοντος ἢπαρελθόντος ἢ παρόντος κακοῦ ἢ ἀγαθοῦ: τοῦ δὲ μανέντος ἔτι τε ἐν τούτῳ μένοντοςοὐκ ἔργον τὰ φανέντα καὶ φωνηθέντα ὑφ᾽ ἑαυτοῦ κρίνειν, ἀλλ᾽ εὖ καὶ πάλαι λέγεται τὸπράττειν καὶ γνῶναι τά τε αὑτοῦ καὶ ἑαυτὸν σώφρονι μόνῳ προσήκειν. ὅθεν δὴ καὶ τὸτῶν προφητῶν γένος ἐπὶ
[72β] ταῖς ἐνθέοις μαντείαις κριτὰς ἐπικαθιστάναι νόμος: οὓς μάντεις αὐτοὺςὀνομάζουσίν τινες, τὸ πᾶν ἠγνοηκότες ὅτι τῆς δι᾽ αἰνιγμῶν οὗτοι φήμης καὶ φαντάσεωςὑποκριταί, καὶ οὔτι μάντεις, προφῆται δὲ μαντευομένων δικαιότατα ὀνομάζοιντ᾽ ἄν.
ἡ μὲν οὖν φύσις ἥπατος διὰ ταῦτα τοιαύτη τε καὶ ἐν τόπῳ ᾧ λέγομεν πέφυκε, χάρινμαντικῆς: καὶ ἔτι μὲν δὴ ζῶντος ἑκάστου τὸ τοιοῦτον σημεῖα ἐναργέστερα ἔχει,στερηθὲν δὲ τοῦ ζῆν γέγονε τυφλὸν καὶ τὰ μαντεῖα ἀμυδρότερα16
Virgil in The Aeneid
Virgil or more accurately, Publius Vergilius Maro, is a first-century BC ancient Roman poet. His alleged contribution to the tongues connection is small.
Then to Phoebus and Trivia will I set up a temple of solid marble, and festal days in Phoebus’ name. You also a stately shrine awaits in our realm; for here I will place your oracles and mystic utterances, told to my people, and ordain chosen men, O gracious one. Only trust not your verses to leaves, lest they fly in disorder, the sport of rushing winds; chant them yourself, I pray.” His lips ceased speaking.17
And the Latin
Tum Phoebo et Triviae solido de marmore templum instituam, festosque dies de nomine Phoebi. Te quoque magna manent regnis penetralia nostris: hic ego namque tuas sortes arcanaque fata, dicta meae genti, ponam, lectosque sacrabo, alma, viros. Foliis tantum ne carmina manda, ne turbata volent rapidis ludibria ventis; ipsa canas oro.” Finem dedit ore loquendi.18
The question that surrounds Virgil is his reference to mystic utterances. What does he mean by that? The Latin translation is incorrect and should read, Here therefore I will place your lots and secret fates19 Regardless of the translation, it is a stretch to make this sequence out to be glossolalia.
Lukan’s The Civil War
Lukan was a well-known poet who was a friend of the unstable and often cruel Emporer Nero. This relationship that brought him to fame also led him to the grave. He was ordered to death by Nero for treason. His work, De Bello Civili (On the Civil War), covered the war between Julius Caesar and Pompey. The vital part of his work relating to speaking in tongues relates to his narrative on a Delphian priestess. He reported a story of Appius Claudius Pulcher coming to a Delphic priestess to find out the future, possibly if he should go to war. The priestess, named Phemenoe, fakes such a prophecy that Appius rightly identified. Appius seriously threatened her and forced Phemenoe to flee to the ancient prophetic cave. The inspiration the cave once offered had ceased for some time already. In this instance, there was an exception; Apollo returned and filled Phemenoe. She went into madness, raving, and uttered a prophecy.
There is no reference to her being in a trance and uttering strange or foreign words at all. For the sake of substantiation, here is the English and Latin with what is the closest parallel.
At last Apollo mastered the breast of the Delphian priestess ; as fully as ever in the past, he forced his way into her body, driving out her former thoughts, and bidding her human nature to come forth and leave her heart at his disposal. Frantic she careers about the cave, with her neck under possession ; the fillets and garlands of Apollo, dislodged by her bristling hair, she whirls with tossing head through the void spaces of the temple ; she scatters the tripods that impede her random course ; she boils over with fierce fire, while enduring the wrath of Phoebus. . . first the wild frenzy overflowed through her foaming lips ; she groaned and uttered loud inarticulate cries with panting breath ; next, a dismal wailing filled the vast cave ; and at last, when she was mastered, came the sound of articulate speech : “Roman, thou shalt have no part in the mighty ordeal and shalt escape the awful threats of war ; and thou alone shalt stay at peace in a broad hollow of the Euboean coast.” Then Apollo closed up her throat and cut short her tale.20
165 Pectore Cirrhaeo, non umquam plenior artus
Phoebados irrupit Paean: mentemque priorem
Expulit, atque hominem toto sibi cedere iussit
Pectore. Bacchatur demens aliena per antrum
170 Colla ferens, vittasque dei Phoebeaque serta
Erectis discussa comis, per inania templi
Ancipiti cervice rotat, spargitque vaganti
Obstantes tripodas, magnoque exaestuat igne,
Iratum te, Phoebe, ferens. . .
190 Spumea tunc primum rabies vesana per ora
Effluit, et gemitus, et anhelo clara meatu
Murmura: tunc moestus vastis ululatus in antris,
Extremaeque sonant, domita iam virgine, voces:
Effugis ingentes, tanti discriminis expers,
195 Bellorum, o Romane, minas: solusque quietem
Euboici vasta lateris convalle tenebis.
Caetera suppressit, faucesque obstruxit Apollo.21
Out of all the literature referring to the rites of the Delphic priestesses, Plutarch contains the most information. Plutarch was a biographer and writer who lived in the middle to late first century (46 – 120 AD). His work, Moralia explored the customs and lores of his time. His thirty-odd years as a priest at Delphi may be the reason why he covers the topic of Delphic priestesses so often.
A drawback to Plutarch’s Moralia is that it is a large composition that would be time-consuming to do a comparative analysis. Fortunately, an old series of publications entitled, Moralia, in fifteen volumes, with an English translation are digitally searchable at archive.org. This archive was of immense assistance. A search in Volume 4 demonstrates that the office of the Delphic priestess was an important one in Greek society that required the prophetess to speak in direct terms. All the prophecies given were coherent and readily understood. There is no shadow of strange or incoherent language being spoken.
The Oracles at Delphi
Volume 5 continues with the same tone but gets far deeper. In Plutarch’s letter titled, The Oracles at Delphi, he writes that the priestesses gave prophecies in prose and metre. He also believed it was done in a formal, eloquent style. Here are some quotes that demonstrate this.
“It is very pleasant to listen to such conversation as this, but I am constrained to claim the fulfilment of your first promise regarding the cause which has made the prophetic priestess cease to give her oracles in epic verse or in other metres.”22
“those who do not believe that in his time the prophetic priestess used verse in her oracular responses. Afterwards, wishing to prove this, he has found to support his contention an altogether meagre number of such oracles, indication that the others were given out in prose, even as early as that time. Some of the oracles even to-day come out in metre…”23
“Now we cherish the belief that the god, in giving indications to us, makes use of the calls of herons, wrens, and ravens ; but we do not insist that these, inasmuch as they are messengers and heralds of the gods, shall express everything rationally and clearly, and yet we insist that the voice and language of the prophetic priestess, like a choral song in the theatre, shall be presented, not without sweetness and embellishment, but also in verse of a grandiloquent and formal style with verbal metaphors and with a flute to accompany its delivery! What a statement, then, shall we make about the priestesses of former days?”24
“And as for the language of the prophetic priestess, just as the mathematicians call the shortest of lines between two points a straight line, so her language makes no bend nor curve nor doubling nor equivocation, but is straight in relation to the truth…”25
I do not think it is even necessary to produce the Greek original text because Plutarch is obvious on vocal delivery of the prophecies. There is no ambiguity that it was clear, refined, and direct speech. But if some really want to read the Greek, a good start would be with a book called: Pythici dialogi tres.
On the Fame of the Athenians
This discussion has been moved to a section closer to the beginning called, Aristophanes.
Strabo “(64 or 63 BC – c. 24 AD) was a Greek geographer, philosopher, and historian who lived in Asia Minor during the transitional period of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire.”26 Strabo seems to retell the same story by that of Plutarch. The Delphic prophetesses would go into a trance and prophesy in verse. These words then would be recorded by the priests.
9.3.5 They say that the seat of the oracle is a cave that is hollowed out deep down in the earth, with a rather narrow mouth, from which arises breath that inspires a divine frenzy; and that over the mouth is placed a high tripod, mounting which the Pythian priestess receives the breath and then utters oracles in both verse and prose, though the latter too are put into verse by poets who are in the service of the temple. They say that the first to become Pythian priestess was Phemonoe; and that both the prophetess and the city were so called from the word pythésthai,” though the first syllable was lengthened, as in athanatos, akamatos, and diakonos.
Here is the Greek.
φασὶ δ᾽ εἶναι τὸ μαντεῖον ἄντρον κοῖλον κατὰ βάθους οὐ μάλα εὐρύστομον, ἀναφέρεσθαιδ᾽ ἐξ αὐτοῦ πνεῦμα ἐνθουσιαστικόν, ὑπερκεῖσθαι δὲ τοῦ στομίου τρίποδα ὑψηλόν, ἐφ᾽ ὃντὴν Πυθίαν ἀναβαίνουσαν δεχομένην τὸ πνεῦμα ἀποθεσπίζειν ἔμμετρά τε καὶ ἄμετρα:ἐντείνειν δὲ καὶ ταῦτα εἰς μέτρον ποιητάς τινας ὑπουργοῦντας τῷ ἱερῷ. πρώτην δὲΦημονόην γενέσθαι φασὶ Πυθίαν, κεκλῆσθαι δὲ καὶ τὴν προφῆτιν οὕτω καὶ τὴν πόλινἀπὸ τοῦ πυθέσθαι, ἐκτετάσθαι δὲ τὴν πρώτην συλλαβήν, ὡς ἐπὶ τοῦ ἀθανάτου καὶἀκαμάτου καὶ διακόνου.27
An eleventh-century AD Christian by the name of Michael Psellos, a statesman and lover of literature who lived in Constantinople, unearths a different interpretation.
And seeing that from the work of Apollo: the prophetess, by the mouth, the word follows, she became overcome around the tripod, she was pronouncing on the one hand to the Persians, and on the other to the Assyrians, and the Phoenicians — all according to metre and also rhythm which she had not known with beautiful language which she had not learned.28
Psellos wrote that the Pythian prophetess was miraculously speaking in foreign languages. This conclusion is not consistent with any other interpretation. Psellos loved to play with ancient classical literature to parade his literary genius, but this does not explain why he would do this. However, he felt that this was not the same phenomenon as the christian rite of tongues. He believed the Apostles controlled what they spoke and were personally engaged. The Pythian priestess was out of her senses when she spoke.
This is an odd addition that needs more scrutiny, but it does not lead into the direction of glossolalia.
The Greek, English translation, and analysis can be found at Psellos on the Christian Doctrine of Tongues.
Rohde’s Psyche: The Cult of Souls
Erwin Rhode’s work, Psyche: The Cult of Souls and the Belief in Immortality among the Greeks, stands above any other work in its genre. He covers the ancient Greek religion in such vivid detail and clarity.
Although his work is a little over one hundred years old, it has withstood the test of time. It is not a widely known book outside of scholastic circles, but it deserves public praise.
A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature: Fourth Revised cites Rohde to assert a correlation with glossolalia. “There is no doubt about the thing referred to, namely the broken speech of persons in religious ecstasy. The phenomenon, as found in Hellenistic religion, is described esp. by ERohde.”29
However, a closer analysis of the page numbers (289-293) cited in Rohde’s work does not validate such. There is no such connection or any concrete evidence for glossolalia. The closest reference found was this; “ In hoarse tones and wild words, the Sibyl gave utterance to what the divine impelling power within her and not her own arbitrary fancy suggested ; possessed by the god, she spoke in a divine distraction.”30 One has to be cautious with Rohde because he is writing with a narrative style and may have been too descriptive. He nowhere substantiates such a claim from authorities such as Herodotus, Plutarch or anyone else that the Sibyl did such types of discourse.
The works examined so far demonstrate there is no vital connection between the ancient Greek prophetesses and speaking in tongues. These stories lack any features of glossolalia. The actual accounts from Lukan, Plutarch, Virgil, Plato, Strabo, Herodotus, and Michael Psellos show no correlation at all. It would take a massive leap to connect these two disparate genres.
Perhaps, something is missed in this argument because of my lack of proficiency in the German language, which contains most of the original discussions.
On the other hand, the lack of data and improper definition of Delphic ecstasy lines up with Christopher Forbes research. Forbes “is a Senior Lecturer in Ancient History, and Deputy Chairman of the Society for the Study of Early Christianity,”31 at Macquarie University in Australia. He wrote a dissertation on this subject and converted it into a book, Prophecy and Inspired Speech: In Early Christianity and Its Hellenistic Environment. He stated:
The obscurity of Delphic utterances is not a matter of linguistic unintelligibility at all. It is simply that some such oracles were formulated, at the level of literary allusion and metaphor, in obscure, cryptic and enigmatic terms. They were, in a word, oracular.32
There is a potential parallel between the ancient Greek prophetesses and the Old Testament seers in their role and function in society. The prophetic dimension is an impressive set of readings. Comparative work between ancient Israel’s and Greece’s prophetic office is a worthy topic on its own, but it does not fit into the tongues paradigm. The subject is in the prophetic genre.
For more information:
- Introduction to the History of Glossolalia
- A History of Glossolalia: Origins
- A History of Glossolalia: Did it exist before 1879?
- A History of Glossolalia: Objections
- A History of Glossolalia: Patristic Citation
- A Critical Look at Tongues and Montanism
- Eusebius on Montanism: the Latin and Greek text
- Rohdes, “Psyche: the Cult of Souls” An instrumental work on Greek pagan religions. It does not directly address tongues, but can be inferred and is cited by higher criticists in this manner.
- accused and deposed from Academia for his Nazi collaboration during the Second World War
- Johannes Behm γλῶσσα, ἑτερόγλοσσος as found in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Vol. 1. Gerhard Kittel, Gerhard Friedrich eds. Trans. By Geoffrey W. Bromiley. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. 1964
- Johannes Behm γλῶσσα, ἑτερόγλοσσος as found in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Vol. 1. Gerhard Kittel, Gerhard Friedrich eds. Trans. By Geoffrey W. Bromiley. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. 1964. Pg. 722
- https://records.viu.ca/~johnstoi/aristophanes/frogs.htm. An older translation can be found at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It has, “Who ne’er has the noble revelry learned, or danced the dance of the Muses high; or shared in the Bacchic rites which old bull-eating Cratinus’s words supply…”
- Aristophanes, Frogs as found at Perseus’ website.
- As found on the internet. Plutarch. De gloria Atheniensium, as found in Moralia. Loeb Classical Library edition. Vol. IV. 1936. Pg. 511
- As found on the internet. Plutarch. De gloria Atheniensium, as found in Moralia. Loeb Classical Library edition. Vol. IV. 1936. Pg. 511
- LSJ definition as found at Logeion.
- Hdt. 1.47 http://data.perseus.org/citations/urn:cts:greekLit:tlg0016.tlg001.perseus-eng1:1.47 see also Hdt. 1.65, 1.66, 1.67, 5:60, 5:61, 7:220
- Plato in Twelve Volumes. Translated by Harold Fowler. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 1925
- Plato. Platonis Opera, ed. John Burnet. Oxford University Press. 1903
- Plato. Plato in Twelve Volumes, Vol. 9 translated by W.R.M. Lamb. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1925.
- Plato. Platonis Opera, ed. John Burnet. Oxford University Press. 1903.
- Virgil. Eclogues, Georgics, Aeneid. Translated by Fairclough, H R. Loeb Classical Library Volumes 63 & 64. Cambridge, MA. Harvard University Press. 1916
- Vergil. Bucolics, Aeneid, and Georgics Of Vergil. J. B. Greenough. Boston. Ginn & Co. 1900.
- Lukan: with an English Translation by J. D. Duff. The Civil War. Books I—X (Pharsalia) (Book V) London: William Heineman Ltd. 1962. Pg. 249Ff
- Pharsaliae Libri X. M. Annaeus Lucanus. Carolus Hermannus Weise. Leipzig. G. Bassus. 1835
- Vol. 5. The Oracles at Delphi Pg. 301
- Vol. 5. The Oracles at Delphi Pg. 311
- Vol. 5. The Oracles at Delphi Pg. 321
- Vol. 5. The Oracles at Delphi Pg. 341
- Strabo. ed. A. Meineke, Geographica. Leipzig: Teubner. 1877.
- From my translation Psellos on the Tongues of Pentecost
- Walter Bauer. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature: Fourth Revised. Translated by F.W. Gingrich and Frederick W. Danker. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. 1979. Pg. 162
- Erwin Rohde Psyche: The Cult of Souls and the Belief in Immortality among the Greeks, Books for Libraries Press 1972 edition, reprinted from the English translation of 1920. W.B. Hillis translator. Pg. 293
- Christopher Forbes. Prophecy and Inspired Speech: In Early Christianity and Its Hellenistic Environment. Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc. 1997. Pg. 109
1 thought on “Delphi Prophetesses and Christian Tongues”
I just read this article and was surprised to learn that those priestesses weren’t exhibiting glossolalia at all! (I forgot that when I read the article on Origen last week, I had observed for myself that Origen’s description of the priestesses has no mention of unintelligibility. Side note: Why don’t you include Origen’s description of the priestesses in this article? Just because it doesn’t count as a Hellenistic text?)
Because of the assertion of those higher criticists (tongues=glossolalia) I thought it was a given that the Delphic priestesses spoke ecstatic, unintelligible utterances, and that their only mistake was connecting that to the Christian doctrine of tongues. But we actually have a double misinterpretation!
So where did the higher criticists get the idea of unintelligible utterances in the first place? From the Irvingites’ experience? I’d better read that one next.