prophets, Israel, agency


The epigraph comes from the section of the Pentateuch in which Moses descends Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments and communicates the will of God to the children of Israel. God has been speaking with Moses for forty days and nights and has conferred on him the authority to serve as revelator and prophet of the children of Israel. In this passage, Moses has become the literal conveyance for God's word, a conduit for the divine Logos. Perhaps the detail that gets the least attention in this familiar story is Moses's veil. The image suggests a deliberate self-effacement. The veil, applied over the face when "giving" (not advocating, arguing, deliberating, evaluating, interpreting, or contriving) God's will, directs attention away from the speaker and toward the revelation itself. When finished delivering the commandments, Moses would "take the veil off" (HarperCollins Study Bible, Exodus 34:34). As with the veil of the temple mentioned in Exodus 26:33, the veil over Moses's face serves to differentiate that which is "most holy" from that which is not, and it powerfully reminds his audience that a greater will speaks through him.

Original Publication Citation

Crosby, Richard Benjamin. “The Agentive Play of Bishop Henry Yates Satterlee.” Invited Book Chapter. In Mapping Religious Rhetorics: A Critical Reader for Writing Scholars. Eds. Michael-John DePalma and Jeffrey M. Ringer. New York: Routledge, 2015. 48-61

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Routledge Taylor & Francis Group







University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor