Author Topic: Jacob's ladder  (Read 261 times)

Offline Iamchristian

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Jacob's ladder
« on: July 26, 2020, 07:51:43 AM »
How did the people in the Old Testament times understand/interpret Jacob's ladder? Do I miss something in the story because I do not understand much about the culture(s) of those days?
How should we understand/interpret it today?

The Swedish Wikipedia says that in the Bibel 2000, the text is translated with trappa (stairs), because Bibelkommissionen (the Bible Commission) said that the text referred to the stairs of the ziqqurat temples in ancient Babylon.
What to make of this?
 

Offline Michael Wilson

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Re: Jacob's ladder
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2020, 10:47:10 AM »
I don't know how the people of the Old Testament interpreted this text, because there are so few commentaries (if any at all) that we have from before Christ's time.
The Catholic interpretation I found in a quick search is the following:
Quote
Jacob, who is sent, designates the Christ our Teacher. The stone which he places under his head and which he anoints with oil, signifies the Savior. The ladder which reaches to the heavens is the figure of the Cross. The Lord supported on the ladder is Christ on the Cross
"The World Must Conform to Our Lord and not He to it." Rev. Dennis Fahey CSSP

"My brothers, all of you, if you are condemned to see the triumph of evil, never applaud it. Never say to evil: you are good; to decadence: you are progess; to death: you are life. Sanctify yourselves in the times wherein God has placed you; bewail the evils and the disorders which God tolerates; oppose them with the energy of your works and your efforts, your life uncontaminated by error, free from being led astray, in such a way that having lived here below, united with the Spirit of the Lord, you will be admitted to be made but one with Him forever and ever: But he who is joined to the Lord is one in spirit." Cardinal Pie of Potiers
 
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Offline Graham

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Re: Jacob's ladder
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2020, 11:20:40 AM »
It's patently ridiculous to say that Jacob's ladder, which leads to heaven, referred to the steps of a Babylonian temple.

 

Offline Daniel

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Re: Jacob's ladder
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2020, 12:22:01 PM »
I too have heard that it was a staircase rather than a ladder. Not sure if this is an issue of translation or if there's something else going on (I looked it up and the word in question is Hebrew סֻלָּם / Greek κλῖμαξ / Latin scala ... maybe someone knowledgable in these languages could clarify?) In either case I don't think it really changes the literal sense all that much. Jacob had a dream in which he saw angels ascending and descending the ladder (and/or staircase) connecting heaven and earth. I believe that the ascending angels signify man's prayers/sacrifices going up to God while the descending angels signify God's blessings/graces coming down to man... the ladder signifies Jesus who unites man to God thereby connecting heaven and earth.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2020, 12:36:36 PM by Daniel »
 
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Offline Maximilian

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Re: Jacob's ladder
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2020, 02:56:31 PM »
I looked it up and the word in question is Hebrew סֻלָּם / Greek κλῖμαξ / Latin scala ...

The same translation question occurs also in conjunction with the only great spiritual classic written in English, "The Scale of Perfection" by Walter Hilton.

The most commonly used title bypasses the issue by simply transferring the Latin "scala" to the English "scale."

Alternatively, however, the work is sometimes translated as "The Ladder of Perfection."

The world "scala," however, can also mean "stairway."

https://d.lib.rochester.edu/teams/text/bestul-hilton-scale-of-perfection-introduction

The title The Scale of Perfection, or in Latin Scala perfectionis, is found in several manuscripts; The Scale of the title has the proximate Latin meaning of ladder or stairway.
 
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Offline Iamchristian

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Re: Jacob's ladder
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2020, 06:42:20 AM »
but why the dream? Does dreaming in the Bible mean something that modern people do not understand?
And did people in the OT times use the ladder as a special symbol?
We have the Scala Claustralium in which ladder is used as a symbol. Did the ancient people use ladder as a symbol in the same way?
In Nearer my God to Thee we sing "E'en though it be a cross
That raiseth me".
Where is the the cross in the story?
« Last Edit: July 27, 2020, 06:51:16 AM by Iamchristian »
 

Offline Maximilian

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Re: Jacob's ladder
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2020, 12:27:25 PM »

 
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Offline aquinas138

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Re: Jacob's ladder
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2020, 07:13:27 PM »
The Byzantine tradition identifies Jacob's Ladder with both the Cross, by which the righteous ascend into heaven and the damned descend into Hell, but also with the Mother of God, for she is the link that joins heaven and earth.
O Mary most pure, golden censer that became the tabernacle of the uncontainable divinity, in you the Father was well pleased; in you the Son did dwell; and the Holy Spirit, by overshadowing you, revealed you to be the Birthgiver of God.
 
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Offline Michael Wilson

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Re: Jacob's ladder
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2020, 04:15:21 PM »
The Byzantine tradition identifies Jacob's Ladder with both the Cross, by which the righteous ascend into heaven and the damned descend into Hell, but also with the Mother of God, for she is the link that joins heaven and earth.
I've seen St. Louis de Montfort compare the B.V.M. To the ladder; also St. Francis had a vision of two ladders going from Earth to Heaven, on the top of one Our Lord was standing and on the top of the other, Our Lady; he saw how the friars that attempted to climb the ladder that led to Our Lord, would struggle up a few rungs and then slide back down; while those that attempted to climb the ladder to Our Lady did so quickly and easily.
"The World Must Conform to Our Lord and not He to it." Rev. Dennis Fahey CSSP

"My brothers, all of you, if you are condemned to see the triumph of evil, never applaud it. Never say to evil: you are good; to decadence: you are progess; to death: you are life. Sanctify yourselves in the times wherein God has placed you; bewail the evils and the disorders which God tolerates; oppose them with the energy of your works and your efforts, your life uncontaminated by error, free from being led astray, in such a way that having lived here below, united with the Spirit of the Lord, you will be admitted to be made but one with Him forever and ever: But he who is joined to the Lord is one in spirit." Cardinal Pie of Potiers
 
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