Much modern scholarship on Delphic oracles has revolved around the question of authenticity, where authenticity implies it is a fact that there was a consultation of the Delphic oracle, that a response was given and that the account of these events reports the occasion of the consultation and the response verbatim. This article challenges the usefulness and validity of this definition on two grounds. First, there is ample evidence that most Delphic oracles circulated orally for at least a generation before being recorded in writing. Therefore, Delphic oracles should be examined through what we know about orality from Homeric studies. Second, all six hundred or so oracles attributed to Delphi are fulfilled. This observation suggests that Delphic tales are religious testimonia and should be read for what they tell us about the beliefs, though not necessarily the facts and details, of the communities who circulated them. This article, then, both provides an alternate definition of authenticity that takes into account the oral transmission of these tales by communities of believers and comments on the nature of the historical evidence these tales provide.

[Footnotes]

[Footnotes]
1
Parke and Wormell 1956.
Fontenrose's 1978
Andersen 1987.
2
PW 31=Hdt. 1.66.
3
Parke and Wormell 1956: I 94.
4
Parke and Wormell 1956: I 94.
5
PW 15 = Plut. Sol. 14.6
PW 326 = Plut. Sol. 9.1
7
Fontenrose 1978: 12
8
Crahay 1955: 295-304
9
Mikalson 1980/1981: 179-80 (quoted here)
Dietrich 1980: 238-39.
Robertson 1982
Brenk 1980.
10
Fontenrose 1978: chapter six.
11
PW 164, 165, 260, 347, 348, 349, 426, 427.
Thomas 1989.
12
Vansina 1985: 171 (quoted above) with 71-79 and 165-73.
Peradotto 1974: 822-25
14
Vansina 1985: 3.
15
Foley 1990.
Finnegan 1970
1988
Portelli 1981
Tonkin 1992.
Heffernan's discussion (1988)
16
Macleod 1961.
Plut. Mor. 397b-c; 405e-407c
17
Maurizio 1995.
18
Fontenrose 1978: 145-65.
19
Hdt. 7.142.
20
Hdt. 1.48.
21
Nagy 1996.
22
Nagy 1996: 22.
23
Nagy 1996: 19.
24
Nagy 1996:19.
25
Nagy 1996: 61.
26
Theognis 805-10
27
Delcourt 1955: 68-70
Nagy 1990: 164-66.
28
Arist. Poetics 1460a18
29
Thuc. 5.23
Isoc. 12.264
Arist. EN 1106b11
Arist. APo. 91b27
Pl. Cra. 432a
30
Thomas 1989.
31
Fontenrose 1978: 88-117.
32
Thuc. 2.54
33
Eur. Ion 517-65.
34
Dougherty 1996.
35
Ahl 1991
Goodhart 1996
Chase 1986.
36
Pomtow 1918: 46-47 (translation mine).
Weinreich 1925
PW 334 = Delph. 3 (1), 500 ll. 1-2
Fontenrose 1978: 19.
37
Eusebius Praep. Evang. 5.22.214Aff.
Parke 1985: 142-43.
38
Bascom 1969.
41
Heffernan 1988: 59.
42
Nagy 1996: 27
43
Parke and Wormell 1956: I 82-83
Macleod 1961: 317-22
Delgado 1985: 153-54.
44
Mnaseas, FGrH III 157
45
Dinias, FGrH 306 f 6.
46
Oenom. apud Eus. P.E. 5.29.4
47
Clem. Alex. Strom. 7, 901P
AP 14.73.
48
PW 309 = Demon FGrH 327 f 7= Did in D. 11.65.
49
Photius, s.v. [Unrepresented Characters]
50
PW 378-82 = Inscr. Magn. No. 17.
Fontenrose 1978: 409.
Pomtow 1896.
51
LSJ s.v. [Unrepresented Characters].
Vesp. 852, 982
Nu. 123, 133, 789
Pax 70, 500, 1221
Eq. 1314
52
Photius, s.v. , [Unrepresented Characters]
54
Hesiod fr. 125 (142) apud Schol. Pind. P. 48 (28).
Thompson 1936: s.v. [Unrepresented Characters]
55
AP 11.417
Luc. Epigr 43.
Arist. HA 519a6
56
Pease 1917
Vian 1963
Fontenrose 1978: 73-74.
57
Sapir and Crocker 1977
Lakoff and Johnson 1980
Urton 1985
Fernandez 1991.
58
Davis 1987
59
Immerwahr 1966
Lang 1984.
60
Hdt. 8.77.
61
Hdt. 8.77.
62
How and Wells at 8.20 and 8.77
Weinreich 1929: 57-60.
How and Wells at 7.6
Halliday 1913
Pollard 1965
Kett 1966
Roth 1982
Burkert 1992.
63
Nagy 1990: 326-28.
64
Hdt. 8.96.
65
How and Wells 1991: ad loc.
Pollux (i.246)
66
Hdt. 9.42-43.
67
Hartog 1988.
68
Hdt. 7.141ff.
69
Georges 1986
Holladay 1987
Robertson 1987.
Vernant 1991: 312-14
Manetti 1993: 32-35.
70
Robertson 1987: 11.
71
Robertson 1987: 11
72
Robertson 1987: 12-14
73
Macan 1908.
74
Holladay 1987: 186
75
Holladay 1987: 186.
76
Parke and Wormell 1956: I 170-71
Fontenrose 1978: 124-28.
77
Dougherty 1993
McGlew 1993
78
Selincourt 1974.
79
Douglas 1989
Sennett 1994
80
Svenbro 1982.
81
Heffernan 1988: 99.
82
Bowra 1938: 80.

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