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Transmission of knowledge from a god or gods to humans. In the Western monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, revelation is the basis of religious knowledge. Humans know God and his will because God has chosen to reveal himself to them. He may communicate with his chosen servants through dreams, visions, or physical manifestations and may inspire prophets who relay his message to the people. His will may also be translated directly into writing through the handing down of divine law (e.g., the Ten Commandments) or scripture (e.g., the Bible and the Qur'an). Other religions emphasize cosmic revelation, in which any and all aspects of the world may reveal the nature of a single underlying divine power (e.g., Brahman in the Vedas).
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on revelation, visit Britannica.com.