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Bibil Identifier bibil:202194
Publication Type Journal article
Title (English, Long) Seeing is Believing: On the Relative Priority of Visual and Verbal Perception of the Divine
Author Savran, George
Journal Biblical Interpretation (Volume: 17, Issue: 3)
Year (Publication) 2009
Year (Original (1st Edition)) 2009
Year (Copyright) 2009
Year (Reference) 2009
Year (Second publication) 2009
Language English
Pages 320-361 Pages
Genre Original
Abstract In comparing the modes of perception of the divine in the Bible, one finds a clear preference for hearing the word of God. The idea of seeing God in a variety of different manifestations is noticeably present, but is generally seen as less important than auditory perception. In theophany narratives this is often expressed in the order of events—a visual manifestation is followed by some spoken word of God. However, in a number of cases where seeing and hearing are both present, seeing is presented as the preferable mode. This dynamic is explored in three texts. In Exod. 24:1-11 seeing is contrasted with the reading of the Book of the Covenant to the people in order to bring out the superior nature of the experience of Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and the seventy elders. In Num. 22 Balaam first hears from God twice in night auditions, but seeing the angel of the Lord in a daytime manifestation brings home the message to him in a way that the spoken word did not. In a somewhat different fashion, Job's ideas about seeing God are contrasted with the attitude of the friends toward direct revelation. This distinction points to the significance of his statement in 42:5 about the superiority of seeing God to hearing. Job's statement here is not intended to describe a vision of God, but rather an appreciation of the perspective of the divine which Job did not possess prior to the whirlwind theophany.
DOI 10.1163/156851508X302042
Keywords Thesaurus BiBIL : Old Testament (Introduction) : Theology : Themes : Theophany
Thesaurus BiBIL : Books of the Old Testament : Writings : Job
Pericopes Exodus 24,1-24,11
Numbers 22,2-22,35
Last modification 2017-10-27