Culminating point of Christ's public life, as His Baptism is its starting point, and His Ascension its end

Catholic Encyclopedia. . 2006.

     Catholic_Encyclopedia Transfiguration
    The Transfiguration of Christ is the culminating point of His public life, as His Baptism is its starting point, and His Ascension its end. Moreover, this glorious event has been related in detail by St. Matthew (17:1-6), St. Mark (9:1-8), and St. Luke (9:28-36), while St. Peter (II Peter 1:16-18) and St. John (1:14), two of the privileged witnesses, make allusion to it.
    About a week after His sojourn in Cæsarea Philippi, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John and led them to a high mountain apart, where He was transfigured before their ravished eyes. St. Matthew and St. Mark express this phenomenon by the word metemorphothe, which the Vulgate renders transfiguratus est. The Synoptics explain the true meaning of the word by adding "his face did shine as the sun: and his garments became white as snow," according to the Vulgate, or "as light," according to the Greek text.
    This dazzling brightness which emanated from His whole Body was produced by an interior shining of His Divinity. False Judaism had rejected the Messias, and now true Judaism, represented by Moses and Elias, the Law and the Prophets, recognized and adored Him, while for the second time God the Father proclaimed Him His only-begotten and well-loved Son. By this glorious manifestation the Divine Master, who had just foretold His Passion to the Apostles (Matthew 16:21), and who spoke with Moses and Elias of the trials which awaited Him at Jerusalem, strengthened the faith of his three friends and prepared them for the terrible struggle of which they were to be witnesses in Gethsemani, by giving them a foretaste of the glory and heavenly delights to which we attain by suffering.
    Already in Apostolic times the mount of the Transfiguration had become the "holy mount" (II Peter 1:18). It seems to have been known by the faithful of the country, and tradition identified it with Mount Thabor. Origen said (A.D. 231-54) "Thabor is the mountain of Galilee on which Christ was transfigured" (Comm. in Ps. lxxxviii, 13). In the next century St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Catech., II, 16) and St. Jerome (Ep. xlvi, ad Marcel.; Ep. viii, ad Paulin.; Ep. cviii, ad Eust.) likewise declare it categorically. Later St. Proculus, Patriarch of Constantinople (d. 447; Orat. viii, in Transfig.), Agathangelus (Hist. of Armenia, II, xvii), and Arnobius the Younger (d. 460; Comm. in Ps. lxxxviii, 13) say the same thing. The testimonies increase from century to century without a single dissentient note, and in 553 the Fifth Council of Constantinople erected a see at Mount Thabor (Notitif. Antioch.... patriarch.).
    Some modern writers claim that the Transfiguration could not have taken place on Mount Thabor, which, according to Josephus, was then surmounted by a city. This is incorrect; the Jewish historian speaks neither of a city nor a village; he simply fortified, as he repeats three times, "the mount called Itabyrion" ("Bell. Jud.", II, xx, 6; IV, i, 8; Vita , 37). The town of Atabyrion of Polybius, the Thabor or Celeseth Thabor, the "flank of Thabor" of the Bible, is situated at the foot of Mount Thabor. In any case the presence of houses on a wooded height would not have made it impossible to find a place apart.
    It is again objected that Our Lord was transfigured on Mount Hermon, since He was at that time in its vicinity. But the Synoptics are all explicit concerning the lapse of time, six days, or about eight days including those of departure and arrival, between the discourse in Cæsarea and the Transfiguration, which would infer a somewhat lengthy journey. Moreover the summits of Hermon are covered with snow as late as June, and even the lesser peaks of 4000 or 5000 feet are likewise snow-covered in February and March, the period of the Transfiguration. Finally, the ancients judged of the height of mountains by their appearance, and Thabor especially was considered a "high mountain", if not by David and Jeremias, at least by Origen and St. Jerome and the pilgrims who made the ascent.
    Transcribed by Paul T. Crowley Dedicated to Father Edward V. Rutowski

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII. — New York: Robert Appleton Company. . 1910.

Catholic encyclopedia.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • transfiguration — [ trɑ̃sfigyrasjɔ̃ ] n. f. • 1265; lat. transfiguratio 1 ♦ Relig. chrét. Changement miraculeux dans l apparence du Christ transfiguré. Fête de la Transfiguration (6 août). 2 ♦ Action de transfigurer, état de ce qui est transfiguré. « À partir de… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Transfiguration — may refer to:* Transfiguration of Jesus, an event reported by the Synoptic Gospels in which Jesus underwent transfiguration * Transfiguration (Raphael), a painting depicting the Transfiguration of Jesus * Transfiguration (in religion), a… …   Wikipedia

  • transfiguration — Transfiguration. s. f. v. Changement en une autre figure. Il n a d usage qu en cette phrase. La Transfiguration de nostre Seigneur …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • transfiguration — [trans fig΄yo͞o rā′shən, trans΄figyo͞o rā′shən] n. 1. a transfiguring or being transfigured 2. [T ] Bible the change in the appearance of Jesus on the mountain: Matt. 17 3. [T ] a church festival (Aug. 6) commemorating the Transfiguration …   English World dictionary

  • Transfiguration — (lat.), Verklärung, besonders diejenige Christi auf dem Berge Tabor (Matth. 17), zu deren Andenken die griechische und römische Kirche 6. Aug. ein besonderes Fest feiern. Berühmt ist Raffaels Gemälde in der Galerie des Vatikans; andre… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Transfiguration — (lat.), Umgestaltung, bes. Verklärung Christi …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • transfiguration — index development (progression) Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • transfiguration — (n.) late 14c., from L. transfigurationem, noun of action from pp. stem of transfigurare (see TRANSFIGURE (Cf. transfigure)). In English, originally the change in appearance of Christ before his disciples (Matt. xvii:2; Mark ix:2,3). The non… …   Etymology dictionary

  • transfiguration — transformation, metamorphosis, transmutation, conversion, transmogrification (see under TRANSFORM) Analogous words: exaltation, magnification (see corresponding verbs at EXALT): enhancing, heightening, intensifying (see INTENSIFY) …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • transfiguration — Transfiguration, Transfiguratio …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

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