Vision and Envisionment in the Bible and its World


Communication about visionary experiences and visionary contents is a widespread phenomenon both, in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament as well as in ancient pagan cultures. The research unit focuses on this phenomenon and seeks to explore rhetorical and narrative strategies that texts make use of in describing experiences and contents of prophetic vision. Among others the following texts and traditions may be of primary importance with regard to our research interest:

  • prophetic traditions in the Hebrew Bible,
  • apocalyptic traditions in ancient Judaism and the New Testament,
  • descriptions of otherworldly journeys,
  • accounts on visionary experiences in ancient pagan cultures.


Prophecy, Vision, Envisionment, Rhetorical Criticism, Narrative Criticism, Implied Responses


Nils Neumann
Leibniz Universität Hannover 

Thomas Wagner
Bergische Universität Wuppertal 

Member Area

Syracuse 2023

As the term „visions“ explicitly presupposes, vision reports are based on the assumption that an encounter with the divine is accessible to the human senses under certain circumstances, first of all to human sight. Accordingly, in the 2023 meeting of our research unit we want to focus on human sense perception. Under the general topic “Sensory Impressions and Perceptibility of the Divine” we are going to discuss the ways that human sensory impressions shape the notions of the Gods in ancient vision narrations. It will be of special interest how auditory, haptic or even olfactory perception goes along with vision. Furthermore, we want to explore how these narrations trigger the perception of their original audiences by referring to sensory impressions, and how narrations of prophetic visions expound the problems of the human senses as a proper means of accessing the divine sphere.