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[thee-of-uh-nee] /θiˈɒf ə ni/
noun, plural theophanies.
a manifestation or appearance of God or a god to a person.
1625-35; < Late Latin theophania < Late Greek theopháneia. See theo-, -phany
Related forms
[thee-uh-fan-ik] /ˌθi əˈfæn ɪk/ (Show IPA),
theophanous, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for theophanies


noun (pl) -nies
(theol) a manifestation of a deity to man in a form that, though visible, is not necessarily material
Derived Forms
theophanic (θɪəˈfænɪk), theophanous, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Late Latin theophania, from Late Greek theophaneia, from theo- + phainein to show
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for theophanies



1630s, from Late Latin theophania, from Greek theophaneia, from theos "god" (see Thea) + phainein "to show" (see phantasm).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for theophanies


(from Greek theophaneia, "appearance of God"), manifestation of deity in sensible form. The term has been applied generally to the appearance of the gods in the ancient Greek and Near Eastern religions but has in addition acquired a special technical usage in regard to biblical materials. In the Old Testament, God is depicted as appearing in human form, in natural cataclysms, in a burning bush, a cloud, or a gentle breeze-forms often associated with the divine "name" or "glory" (originally a visible halo accompanying the divine appearance). Old Testament theophanies are presented as actual historical events or as prophetic visions with symbolic overtones. The mark of biblical theophanies is the temporariness and suddenness of the appearance of God, which is here not an enduring presence in a certain place or object. The extension of the term theophany to such New Testament events as the Baptism and transfiguration of Jesus (also called epiphanies) has been questioned as inappropriate because in Orthodox Christian doctrine Christ himself in his whole life and work and death is the manifestation of God. The incarnation of Christ, however, may be seen as the ultimate and fullest form of divine manifestation in a whole spectrum of theophanies.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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