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Several Prophets

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The word prophet is derived from the ancient Greek prophetes, a noun which designated an interpreter of divine oracles. The sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi, for example, which was probably the most famous center of divination in classical antiquity, used the services of a young woman known as the Pythia who supposedly spoke to mortals in the name of the god. Her words were generally incoherent and needed to be interpreted or translated into clear and intelligible language by priestly attendants called prophets.

Temples and shrines of the ancient Middle East were usually filled with soothsayers and diviners. Some of the Accadian oracles, preserved in the sands of Mesopotamia, have been discovered in modern times. Even among early Christians there were individuals whose utterances were considered to express the will of the Deity and who were called prophets. St. Paul himself ranked them next to the apostles. Like their counterparts in Hellenistic and Roman religions, some Christian prophets were popularly believed to be endowed with the capacity of predicting the future.

Thus the term "prophet" has a relatively extensive use. Nevertheless, it generally refers in a specific sense to the ancient Hebrew prophets, whose words have been preserved in the prophetic literature of the Old Testament.

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  • Religion and Philosophy (4)
  • Prophet Jonah
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    Prophet Jonah

    6 years ago

    Jonah was a Hebrew prophet and leading character of the book of the same name, The name Jonah (dove) occurs only at two points in the Old Testament. In II Kings 14:25 mention is made of a prophet, Jonah, the son of...

  • Prophet Elijah
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    Prophet Elijah

    6 years ago

    Elijah was the major prophet of the ancient Hebrews in the 8th century B.C. In the biblical account, he vigorously combated the worship of the Canaanite god Baal and revitalized the Jewish belief in the one God,...

  • Prophet Amos
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    Prophet Amos

    6 years ago

    Amos was the earliest of the literary prophets of the Old Testament, lived in the middle of the 8th century B.C. The book that bears his name is placed among those of the so-called "minor prophets" merely on account of...

  • Prophet Moses
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    Prophet Moses

    6 years ago

    The story of the Hebrew lawgiver and prophet Moses is told in the books of the Bible from Exodus to Deuteronomy, which record critical events in the earliest history of the people of Israel. Moses, a key figure in all...

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