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`Ama' -01



The theophanic cloud motif in pre-Islamic Abrahamic literatures.

Stephen Lambden UCMerced.

Last uploaded 18-10-2015.

The cloud motif is important in a variety of theological and other contexts within Abrahamic religious literatures. The all-eternal Divine being who created everything is variously depicted as being beclouded or enshrined in isolated "occultation", concealed hiddenness, wihin the cloudy "mist" of primordial being. A multitude of biblical and post-biblical literatures place the personal God of Israel - YHWH, Elohim, etc. - in a variously depicted "cloud" of concealment. It was believed by many that the radiantly brilliant Divine fullness or unfathomable Essence cannot be directly perceived or associated with this created universe or experinced by his most of his mortal creatures. Those prophets and other figures of past ages who attempted to vision God or asked Him to directly reveal "Himself" were unable to attain fulfillment. Grave physical anbd spiritual dangers were associated with the journey towards God; the closer one `ascended' the more perilous were the obstacles before such as imagine that their limited being could approach he Unknowable, Unseen Divinity who transcends direct human experience.  


The "cloud" in the Hebrew Bible.

The "cloud" in the New Testament and Patristic literatures.

The "cloud" in the Mandaean writings.

The "cloud" in the Islamic hadith and related literatures.