Talk:Living creatures (Bible)

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Like Seraphim?[edit]

Confusingly like the Christian seraphim; could somebody look at this in reference to the above? Aristox (talk) 15:17, 17 July 2012 (UTC) —Preceding comment added by Aristox (talkcontribs) 30 November 2005

Hi! First, it shouldn't be surprising that the Jewish and Christian religions have somewhat different conceptions of the angels. Second, I beleive there may be two possible analogies here -- the role, and the appearance. The role involved is as the "living creatures" in Ezekiel's vision in Ezekiel Chapter 1. The Wikipedia Cherub article indicates (possibly incorrectly) tha Cherubim are regarded in Christianity as having this role. But it is possible that Christianity regards angels with this role as having a different appearance than Judaism -- I understand, for example, that cherubim are not generally depicted in Western art of the last half-millenium as being fiery creatures. It is possible that both a role analogy and an appearance analogy need to be made. I don't know enough about Christian angels to know, however. I don't know that much about Jewish angels either -- I've been trying to start articles on the various classes of Jewish angels but I've very much been learning as I've been going along and it's possible I've gotten something wrong in the process. --Shirahadasha 08:26, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

I think this article is not "Christianity-related"! There certainly is no doctrine of chayot in Christianity! (Nor is this Kabbalah-related. Merkabah mysticism is older than and different from the Kabbalah.) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:19, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

What is the grammar?[edit]

How is "Chayot" inflected? Apparently, by the usage, "Chayot" is the plural form. Is the singular "Chayah"? (Compare: Sephirah, Qliphah.) SpectrumDT 18:21, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Evidently "chayah" is a word, with apparently the same meaning. But I don't know enough Hebrew to be confident about adding this to the article. SpectrumDT (talk) 20:39, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
Yes, "chayah" is the singular. In ictu oculi (talk) 04:23, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

Descriptions of the four living creatures carry a strong sense that the authors were trying to describe something beyond their comprehension. The word "chayah" in the Hebrew Bible is usually preceded by "nephesh" when a breathing creature is unambiguously intended. The word "chayah" used in isolation by Ezekiel might suggest something quite different, perhaps the concept of "life-giving" deriving from a beneficient force of nature. It is possible that the additional features attributed to the chayot, such as faces and wings, which have steered translations towards the language of common-or-garden living creatures, could, in fact, have been meant to represent something quite different. For example, the Hebrew word translated as 'a wing' can also mean an edge, like the edge of a territory. Then the combination of 'wing' and 'face' might suggest a 3-dimensional geometrical solid having flat faces. In fact, Ezekiel writes about creatures that each have four faces, while six wings (or edges) are described in Revelation 4:8, implying a configuration that perfectly describes a tetrahedron. Alternatively, the wings (edges) could be the imaginary lines connecting stars in astronomical constellations. This possibility looks especially plausible when the designation of the creatures' faces (ie man, lion, ox and eagle) are taken into account. The Hebrew names correspond to the Babylonian, Zodiacal constellations of Taurus (ox), Leo (lion), Scorpio (eagle) and Aquarius (man). It is surely significant that the Jews were in exile in Babylonia in the lifetime of Ezekiel; those particular constellations represent months that are at regular, three monthly intervals; and the Scorpio/eagle (Babylonian/Jewish) equivalence is well attested. Also, Aquarius is the only constellation of the Zodiac that corresponds to a mortal man. Since all biblical descriptions of so-called 'living creatures' come from their authors' unconscious visions, it seems fair that interpretations should take into account rational possibilities that translators of the Bible may not have thought to consider, or discounted for doctrinal reasons. Given that bibles are not going to be revised, then just how relevant is Ezekiel's own intention to the purpose of this article?--DStanB (talk) 22:39, 22 December 2012 (UTC)

Merge with Tetramorph?[edit]

The Tetramorph article covers the same concept. Ian.thomson (talk) 16:17, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

Not really, the Ezekiel tetramorph may be the most notable tetramorph (though it is rarely called that "living creatures" is WP:COMMONNAME) but it is notable enough to have its own article. I would say Ezekiel's living creatures is probably overweight a bit in the tetramorph article and needs some of that content pasted back here with a MAIN. In ictu oculi (talk) 04:23, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

Original / Unsourced? Not more so than any of the other info in the article.[edit]

I strongly dispute the reversion of my latest edits. For example the part where I simply relay what Rev.4:4 says (with link) about the appearance of the four creatures. Nothing original or unsourced about that. The article about Cherubim in fact does the same thing, relaying the appearance of the creatures with links. If one aspect of my edits was considered problematic, then contest or change that specific aspect, not everything I've contributed. Ben Ammi (talk) 23:16, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

As I've stated all over the place, we do not cite blogs, such as I could not revert simply that part due to intermediate edits (if you go to the page history and click on the first edit you made, you'll see what I mean). Please review our policy on using primary sources and guidelines on identifying reliable sources, and you are welcome to try again. Just do not cite wordpress or any other blog. Ian.thomson (talk) 23:19, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
Ian: you could edit out that specific reference very easily I think; it would have been much easier to just delete a line of text than for me to have to write it all out again. This is highly discouraging to contributors. With your permission I would revert your deletion of my edits, and subsequently simply edit out that part which you identified as problematic, as it would be much easier. I await your reply and eventual identifications of what other parts may have been problematic and therfore not worth adding again. Again, this reversion, with your permission, would simply be for simplicity's sake, and the final result would not include that aspect you identified as problematic. Sincerely, Ben Ammi (talk) 23:24, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the revert/edit. Ben Ammi (talk) 23:51, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
Ben Ammi, this article needs work, that's true, and your contributions are welcome. The article started as an umbrella above tetramorph which is an article on Christian iconography. But as way of comparison, (A) is a source, (B) is OR and shouldn't be in ref tags:
  • (A) April D. De Conick Paradise now: essays on early Jewish and Christian mysticism Page 203 - 2006 "A second feature of importance involves the τέσσαρα ζῷα of 4:6, living beings. ... is perhaps not original with John, as it is found albeit in a very indirect manner in another merkabah-related text.
  • (B) In this case, they do not have four faces, but are rather four separate beings, each with the following appearance: man, lion, calf, eagle. Revelation 4:6-8
What this article needs is scholarly sources that pass WP:RS, and it does need more. But not Bible verses WP:PRIMARY. Cheers. In ictu oculi (talk) 00:50, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

The "Author's Reworking?"[edit]

The body of the article currently states that "The four living creatures that John of Patmos sees in the Book of Revelation, is the author's reworking of the living creatures in the visions of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:5-28)[7] and Isaiah (Isaiah 6:2).[8]" This observation is not sourced or attributed to anyone - did Jonathan Edwards say it (referenced in the previous sentence)? Otherwise it seems like original research implying that John simply "reworked" what he read in Ezekiel and Isaiah. If so, this sentence seem to acknowledge that Ezekiel and Isaiah had "visions," but John did not.

It's not clear whether John is the one meant by the term "the author," and just as a minor point, there shouldn't be a comma after "Revelation."Sadiemonster (talk) 08:59, 17 September 2015 (UTC)