A blog focused on ancient Jewish and early Christian mysticism, particularly the Epistle to the Hebrews and Philo of Alexandria
Saturday, October 16, 2021
"Behold! I Am with the Children God Has Given Me": Ekphrasis and Epiphany in Hebrews 1-2," in Son, Sacrifice, and Great Shepherd: Studies on the Epistle to the Hebrews (ed. E.F. Mason and D.M. Moffatt; WUNT 2/510; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2020), 43–77
In “‘Behold! I Am with the Children God Has Given Me’: Ekphrasis and Epiphany in Hebrews 1–2,” Mackie considers ways in which Heb 1–2 encourages a mystical vision of the ascended Christ’s enthronement in the heavenly realms and sets the scene for the later passages of the homily that exhort the audience to approach God. Identifying rhetorical elements in Hebrews that parallel techniques in the wider Greco-Roman world that make up an ekphrasis (which intends to produce visual and emotional experiences in hearers), Mackie argues that Hebrews aims to make the heavenly tabernacle and divine presence visually accessible to the community. They can approach God, enter the tabernacle that is manifest to them in their gathered worship, and experience a vision of the risen and exalted Jesus. This experience forms a central aspect of the exhortation and encouragement the author uses to help persuade his audience to remain faithful to Jesus, as they have their identity as his siblings reconfirmed.