Other Free Encyclopedias » Online Encyclopedia » Encyclopedia - Featured Articles » Contributed Topics from F-J

Jacob's Ladder

stone angels life ascending

On an overnight stop en route from his family and birthplace to seek a new life with his relatives, *Jacob experienced a dream vision (Genesis 28:10-22) of a ladder reaching from earth to *heaven with *angels ascending and descending upon it. The subject was illustrated as early as the third century (e.g., frescoes in the synagogue of Dura Europas) and appears frequently in medieval manuscripts, sculpture, and mosaic. Jacob may be shown reclining or sleeping on his pillow of stone, and *God may appear at the top of the diagonally positioned ladder. The number of angels represented diverges as well as the number of rungs on the ladder (fifteen rungs, according to *Herrad of Landsberg, representing the *virtues; the ascending angels represent the *con-   templative life and the descending angels, the *active life). The path of the ladder from earth to heaven was also understood by Christian theologians as a symbol for the Virgin *Mary. Jacob may be shown awake after this vision and pouring oil on a pillar he made of the stone to commemorate the site as Bethel, the house of God. The Stone of Scone beneath the coronation chair in Westminster abbey is traditionally Jacob’s pillow stone.
Jacobi, Karl Gustav Jacob [next] [back] Jacob, Margaret C. (1943–) - History of Science

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or