div-i-nā ́shun:

Divination is the act of obtaining secret knowledge, especially that which relates to the future, by means within the reach almost exclusively of special classes of men.

Of this there are two main species: (1) artificial, (2) inspirational, or, as it was called in ancient times (Cicero, Lord Bacon, etc.), natural divination. Artificial divination depends on the skill of the agent in reading and in interpreting certain signs called omens. See AUGURY. In inspirational or natural divination the agent is professedly under the immediate influence of some spirit or god who enables the diviner to see the future, etc., and to utter oracles embodying what he sees. Among the Romans artificial divination prevailed almost exclusively, the other having vogue largely among the Greeks, a proof surely of the more spiritual trend of the Greek mind. Yet that great Roman, Cicero, in his memorable treatise on Divination, says he agrees with those who take cognizance of these two distinct kinds of divination. As examples of inspirational divination he instances men dreaming or in a state of ecstasy (De Divinatione, i. 18). But though Cicero arranges diviners according to their pretentions, he does not believe in any superhuman communication. Thus he explains dreams on psychological principles much as modern psychologists would (op. cit. ii.63ff). As a matter of fact Cicero was an atheist, or at least an agnostic.

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Author: International Std. Bible Encyclopedia

Keywords: Divination, Seance, Spiritualism, Spirit, Immortal spirit, eternal spirit, undying spirit, undieing spirit, immortal soul, eternal soul, undying soul, immortality of the soul, breath of life, breath, life, life after death, communicating with the dead, communication with the dead, death, sorcerer, medium, familiar spirit, Witch of Endor, Saul and the witch, Speaking to the dead, Conjure, Conjuring, conjuring up the dead, Augury, Seeing the future, Predicting the future, Soothsaying, Soothsayer, Sooth sayer, Sooth saying, Necromancy, Necromancer, Diviner, hepatoscopy, Witchcraft, wizard, fortune teller, fortune telling

Bible reference(s): Gen 44:5, Exodus 22:18, Leviticus 19:31, Leviticus 20:6, Leviticus 20:27, Numbers 22:7, Numbers 23:23, Deuteronomy 18:10, Deuteronomy 18:11, 1 Samuel 28:3, 1 Samuel 28:7-20, 2 Kings 17:17, 2 Kings 21:6, 2 Kings 23:24, 1 Chronicles 10:13, 2 Chronicles 33:6, Isaiah 8:19, Isaiah 19:3, Isaiah 29:4, Jeremiah 14:14, Ezekiel 12:24, Ezekiel 13:6, Ezekiel 13:7, Ezekiel 21:21, Ezekiel 21:22, Ezekiel 21:23, Acts 16:16

Source: James Orr (editor), The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 5 volume set.

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