Moses’ Luminous Transformation in the Darkness of Unknowing: The Journey of a Biblical Motif

When Moses descends Mount Sinai for the final time, something has happened to the skin of his face (Ex 34:29).  The Septuagint describes him as being charged with glory (δεδόξασται).  This paper starts by exploring the antecedents for Moses’ transformation in ancient Mesopotamian mythological imagery. It then traces interpretations of Exodus 34:28-35 through literature written in Greek, from Second Temple Jewish writings and the New Testament to early Christian mystical theologians, focussing on Gregory of Nyssa, The Macarian Homilies, and Pseudo-Dionysius.  It makes a case for understanding these theologians not only in terms of their philosophical commitments, but also through their engagement with scripture, and their exegetical choices.