"Hearing and Seeing at Sinai"
Steven D. Fraade
The English term “theophany,” often used of the revelation at Mt. Sinai, is made up of two Greek components, theo- (?e??) and -phany (?????), together meaning the “appearance of God,” suggesting that it was an event in which God physically manifested himself in the sight of Israel. As any reader of the biblical account of Sinai is aware, however, the central aspect of the revela-tion is not of God himself, but of his words, instructions, and commandments. Nevertheless, there are ample examples within the biblical account of revelation that stress the visual as well as the auditory aspects, often intermixed, even as there are contradictory statements as to whether the visual experience included seeing God himself, or just his physical manifestations (especially ëáåã/glory).