High-Relief Epiphanies

  • James KellenbergerEmail author


An epiphany is the appearance or manifestation of God, a god, or the divine or religious reality. An epiphany may be presented as a visual apparition or as hearing God or a god, or in the felt presence of the divine or religious reality, directly or indirectly manifested. High-relief epiphanies stand out against the background of ordinary experience more than other epiphanies. They are awe-filled events so disruptive of and discontinuous with the natural course of things as to leave the human who experiences the epiphany trembling. By definition, all epiphanies are supernatural, but in their visual presentation high-relief epiphanies may be pyrotechnic, psychedelic, and frightening in terms of the supernatural display. In this chapter, three examples of high-relief epiphanies from the Jewish and Christian traditions are considered, one from the Torah and two from the New Testament, as well as the epiphany granted to Arjuna by Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita in the Hindu tradition. High-relief polytheistic epiphanies, as presented by Homer in the Iliad, are considered too, and a Native American epiphany, evoked in a literary work by William Faulkner, is also presented.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyCalifornia State University, NorthridgeNorthridgeUSA

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