Other Free Encyclopedias » Online Encyclopedia » Encyclopedia - Featured Articles » Contributed Topics from P-T

Transfiguration of Christ

moses elijah apostles jesus

The Transfiguration of *Christ is an event described in the Gospels of *Matthew (17:1-9), *Mark (9:2-9), and *Luke (9:28-36). The three texts diverge slightly in detail, although all writers recount that Jesus took *Peter, *James, and *John up to a high mountain and the three witnessed him glorified with shining light, conversing with *Moses and *Elijah. A bright cloud appeared from which *God spoke, declaring Jesus to be his son. All three Gospels describe the *apostles as filled with awe and fear; Luke states that they were sleepy; Matthew recounts that they fell down and hid their faces in fright. This dramatic moment is often illustrated in art, with some variations in presentation. In early Christian mosaics, Jesus appears with a cruciform *halo in a mandorla, radiating beams of light; Moses and Elijah stand on the same level gesturing toward Christ, and the three apostles kneel or sprawl on the ground below. An interesting symbolic variant in the mid-sixth-century apse mosaic of Sant’ Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna, shows Saint Apollinarus in *or-ant pose beneath a great jeweled *cross within a circle; half-length figures of Moses and Elijah float in the clouds beside the cross, and the apostles are represented by three sheep. The more traditional type appears in Ottonian, Romanesque, and Gothic manuscripts and in Gothic portal sculpture. In Byzantine manuscripts and *icons, the full-length figures of Jesus, Moses, and Elijah may each perch on separate mountain peaks, and the radiating beams of light and responses of the witnessing apostles may be emphasized dramatically. The Transfiguration is one of the twelve major feasts of the Byzantine church and, hence, icons of the scene are frequently found on the *iconostasis. It was a subject to which many Byzantine writers devoted attention (e.g., *John of Damascus, *John Chrysostom). It was understood to be a prefiguration of the second coming of Christ at the *Last Judgment, with Moses and Elijah representing the fulfillment of law and prophecy. The location of the event is traditionally Mount Tabor, where Saint *Helena later built a church in c.326.

Transition to the Middle Kingdom - NEBHEPETRE MENTUHOTEP., MENTUHOTEP’S FUNERARY TEMPLE AND TOMB., OTHER ARCHITECTURAL ELEMENTS., UNIQUE STRUCTURE., SOURCES [next] [back] Traditio Legis

User Comments

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

Cancel or