Psalm 77:20[19] and theophanies

George Athas gathas at goconnect.net
Mon Mar 26 17:26:33 EST 2001



| Can not this theophany also communicate something mysterious
| and incomprehensible about the ways of God?

We would have to ask whether this is intended by the author. I have no doubt that many
people would want to take it that way, but I'm not sure the author is necessarily drawing
a moral from the theophany in this case.


| I agree that power/authority over nature is part of it. But why limit
| it there?

I think that's where the author limits it. There are certain 'supernatural' images
associated with divine appearances, and those in Ps 77 are classic.


| Perhaps you are correct, but what is your basis for not allowing
| incomprehensibility or mysteriousness as something that can be intended
| to communicate by a theophany?

Context.


| Another related question: Does a theophany necessarily intend to
| communicate "images where nature reacts in all sorts of weird and
| wonderful ways to the > divine appearance" as you said, or can it intend to
| be poetic descriptions of some literal phenomenon in nature, such as various
| types of storms, a flood, perhaps a volcano or earthquake, etc.?

Probably both. These powerful natural phenomena were probably associated with divine acts,
and so they came to be used as standard imagery for describing theophanies.


Best regards,

GEORGE ATHAS
(Sydney, Australia)
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