Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Seeing is Believing: On the Relative Priority of Visual and Verbal Perception of the Divine

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Biblical Interpretation

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.

Affiliations: 1: Schechter Institute for Jewish Studies, Jerusalem


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Biblical Interpretation — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation