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Throne of God

Throne of God. Jewish vision of the transcendent power of God. God is described as sitting on a throne by the prophets Micaiah (1 Kings 22. 19), Isaiah (Isaiah 6), Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1) and Daniel (Daniel 7. 9). The imagery is also to be found in Talmudic and midrashic sources. Some mystical tracts speak of God's throne as his ‘merkavah’ (chariot). In the Pentateuch, the Ark of the Covenant is understood as the throne of God, (and in his mercy seat). Many Jewish philosophers, such as Saʿadiah Gaon and Maimonides, interpreted all talk of God's throne as allegory.

In Islam, the throne of God became a subject of controversy in the early years: how literally was it to be taken? The Qurʾān speaks frequently of al-ʿArsh (e.g. 7. 54, 9. 129) and of al-Kursi (the footstool, but often taken to be a synonym of al-ʿArsh), notably in āyat al-Kursi, the verse of the Throne, 2. 256. Conflict arose because to take these verses literally would imply extreme anthropomorphism; to take them metaphorically might seem to impugn the direct meaning of the Qurʾān.

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