Friday, March 4, 2011 6:51 AM

Theophany

Friday, March 4, 2011 6:51 AM
Friday, March 4, 2011 6:51 AM

Tthe manifestation of God. The Old Testament contains a number of narratives of or poetic allusions to God revealing himself to men and women. Theophanies frequently are associated with particular holy places, representing the foundation legend of a sanctuary (Gen. 12:6-7; 13:18; 18:1; 28:1-17; Exod. 40:34-38) or the call of a prophet within it (Isa. 6:1-8). They tend to follow a literary pattern with Canaanite roots: God appears, frequently as divine warrior or king, surrounded by fire or in splendor (Deut. 33:2; Pss. 18:8; 104:2; Ezek. 1:27-28; Hab. 3:4), and sometimes riding like Baal upon the wind and clouds (Pss. 18:10; 68:33; 104:3); nature trembles (Exod. 19:18; Judg. 5:4-5; Pss. 18:7; 68:8; Hab. 3:6, 10) or the recipient responds with dread (Gen. 15:12; 28:17; Exod. 3:6; Job 42:5-6; Isa. 6:5; Hab. 3:16); and, as a result, nature becomes fertile (Pss. 68:8-10; 104:10-23; Isa. 35:2, 6-7), or God saves and rules (Deut. 33:5; Judges 5; Pss. 18:16-19; 29:10; 68:19-20; Isa. 35:4-6; Hab. 3:13), or the recipient is given a revelation or call (Gen. 15:12-16; Exod. 3; Isa. 6:8-13; Jer. 1:4-19; Ezek. 1:1-3:15). Elijah’s encounter with God in a ‘still small voice’ rather than in earthquake, wind, and fire (1 Kings 19:9-18) may represent a rejection of Canaanite imagery associating God with the forces of nature. Common to many of these passages is the combined experience of dread and fascination that is characteristic of awe before the holy. In the extreme, to see God’s face brings death (Gen. 32:30; Exod. 33:20; Isa. 6:5). [1]



[1] Achtemeier, P. J., Harper & Row, P., & Society of Biblical Literature. (1985). Harper's Bible dictionary (1st ed.) (1062–1063). San Francisco: Harper & Row.

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