« Bathing Bath Kol Batiffol, Pierre Henri »

Bath Kol

BATH KOL: Literally "daughter of the voice," an expression which signifies in itself nothing more than a call or echo, for which it is also used. When the term is applied to a divine manifestation, it implies that it was audible to the human hearing without a personal theophany. In the Old Testament the notion is found in Dan. iv, 28 (A. V. 31), "a voice fell from heaven." In the New Testament similar ideas are the heavenly voice at the baptism of Jesus (Matt. iii, 17; Mark i, 11; Luke iii, 22), at his transfiguration (Matt. xvii, 5; Mark ix, 7; Luke ix, 35), before his passion (John xii, 28), and the voices from heaven heard by Paul and Peter (Acts ix, 4; cf. xxii, 7 and xxvi, 14; x, 13, 15). A voice from the sanctuary is mentioned by Josephus (Ant., XIII, x, 3; cf. Bab. Soah 33a; Jerus. Soah 24b), and was called bath kol by the rabbis, who were of opinion that such heavenly voices were heard during all the time of Israel's history, even in their own time. According to Bab. Soah 48b; Yomah 9a, this "voice" was the only divine means of revelation after the extinction of prophecy. They narrate legendary stories of such divine voices which settled religious difficulties. Different from the bath kol proper is the idea that natural sounds or words heard by accident are significant heavenly voices. This superstition was not uncommon, as Jerus. Shabbat 8c shows. Rabbi Joshua was of the opinion that such things must not influence any legal decision (Bab. Baba Mei‘a 59b; Berakot 51b). Rabbi Johanan lays down as general rule that that which was heard in the city must be the voice of a man, in the desert that of a woman, and that either a twofold "Yea" or twofold "Nay" is heard (Bab. Megillah 32a).

G. Dalman.

Bibliography: F. Weber. System der altsynagogalen palästinischen Theologie, pp. 187, 194, Leipsic 1880: W. Bacher, Agada der Tannaiten, i, 88. note 3, Strasburg,1884; idem, Agada der palästinischen Amoräer, i, 351, note 3, ii, 26, ib. 1892–96; S. Louis, Ancient Traditions of Supernatural Voices: Bath Kol, in TSBA, ix, 18; JE, ii, 588–592.

« Bathing Bath Kol Batiffol, Pierre Henri »
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