Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

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Scala Coeli
(1,309 words)

The scala coeli, literally “ladder of heaven,” refers primarily to Jacob’s vision of angels ascending and descending a ladder to heaven (Gen 28:10–17). In iconography, the essential components include Jacob reclining on the ground, asleep, and one or more angels on a ladder above him. This visual motif is also used to depict the spiritual ascent of souls to heaven.

Biblical Sources

Numerous accounts of ascents to heaven are found in biblical and extrabiblic…

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Awes Freeman, Jennifer, “Scala Coeli”, in: Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, General Editor David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte. Consulted online on 04 October 2023 <>
First published online: 2018

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