Unconscious Epiphanies

  • James KellenbergerEmail author


High-relief epiphanies are necessarily experienced with acute consciousness. Dialogue epiphanies are also consciously experienced, as are quiet epiphanies. We might think that every epiphany, as an encounter with God or a divine manifestation, will be consciously experienced and register a felt reaction. However, this does not seem to be the case. In this chapter, it is seen how the self-understanding of more than one religious tradition provides a place for unconscious epiphanies, not merely their possibility but their necessity. For an encounter with God to be an encounter it must be experienced. But it need not be experienced as an encounter with God. Religious traditions also allow unconscious epiphanies that are not encounters with God, but manifestations of the divine. The Jewish and Christian traditions recognize the manifestation of God in his creation. But, as is particularly and explicitly recognized in the Christian tradition, though God is made manifest in what he has created, not all human beings find God in his creation. The belief in guardian angels in the Jewish and Christian traditions is also examined and it is noted how this too implies the existence of unconscious epiphanies, especially when that belief is given a theological elaboration.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyCalifornia State University, NorthridgeNorthridgeUSA

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