The radiation field exterior to any kind of volume source in a homogeneous medium can be represented in terms of an expansion in spherical harmonics. Such an expansion then provides an equivalent elastic source representation of quite general character in that nearly any proposed seismic source model, whether obtained using analytical or numerical (finite difference or finite element) methods, can be written in this form. The compatibility of this equivalent source with currently used source models, especially numerical models including detailed computations of the nonlinear processes at the source, is discussed. The equivalent source is then embedded in a stack of plane elastic layers representing the near-source crustal geology, and expressions are derived for computing the steeply emergent body waves exiting the base of the model. These displacements can then be combined with transfer functions representing the effect of the remainder of the travel path to compute theoretical seismograms for the body waves recorded in the far-field.