Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

The two kinds of prophecy

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The poet Robert Graves

The ancient Hebrew distinction between legitimate and illegitimate prophecy—”prophecy” meaning inspired poetry, in which future events are not necessarily, but usually, foretold—has much to recommend it. If a prophet went into a trance and was afterwards unconscious of what he had been babbling, that was illegitimate; but if he remained in possession of his critical faculties throughout the trace and afterwards, that was legitimate. His powers were heightened by the “spirit of prophecy,” so that his words crystallized immense experience into a single poetic jewel; but he was, by the grace of God, the sturdy author and regulator of this achievement.

Robert Graves, The White Goddess

Written by nevalalee

March 22, 2015 at 8:00 am

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