Many Hands Without Design: The Evolution of a Medieval Prophetic Text

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This article reconstructs the pre-manuscript history of the Sibylla Tiburtina, a late antique prophetic text, very widespread after c.1000. It argues against the prevailing belief that a single intelligence structured the Latin text to a single meaning in the eleventh century. By identifying early medieval interpolations this article offers a new account of the work’s textual development in the centuries before 1000. This suggests the text known as the Ottonian Sibyl had a far less distinct moment of creation than is usually assumed and was actually the product of interpolators independently adding to its late antique core over a long period and without a common purpose.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-42
Number of pages20
JournalMedieval Journal
Issue number1
Early online date4 Jun 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Sibylla Tiburtina
  • Prophecy
  • Ottonians
  • Last Emperor
  • Aistulf
  • Apocalypticism
  • Oracle of Baalbek


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