Metaphorically, visions are often evocations of a scene – whether sordid or sublime. Whether they be of syphilitic agony, paradise, or bliss, the word is wedded to an infinitude of metaphor. More prosaic still, visions may refer to nothing more than mere hallucinations or the faculty of sight itself. But in the history of religions, visions are inspirational renderings, often experienced by shamans or prophets, that serve to guide and gild communities of faith.
The Bible is replete with descriptions of visionary encounters. Ezekiel dramatically recalls his experience of witnessing the Lord as a chariot wrought of living creatures with four faces and calf’s feet. The Apocalypse of Saint John (canonically known as the Book of Revelation) describes in phantasmagoric detail the final struggle and apotheosis of the faithful. The previous two examples, along with Paul’s vision of Christ while on the road to Damascus, are but three of many visions recorded in the canonical Old and New...
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