Pythonism (from Pythonissa, a prophetess inspired by the Pythian god in Delphi, Apollo, who killed the serpent Python in the country called Pytho, near Mount Parnassus) is the ecstatic striving after supernatural enlightenment, in order to be able to foresee the future: it is oracular mania. This degeneracy of the natural instinct of curiosity is well described by an anonymous author in the writing Une Pythonisse Contemporaine (Paris, 1835, 8vo). This book relates the adventures of a young lady of noble extraction, who is inveigled by the arts of a modern Pythoness, and, by her superstitious regard for the insane oracles of her teacher, gets from aberration to aberration, and falls at last into all kinds of turpitudes — into crime, vice, and misery. Pythonism is also called Sibyllinism.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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