Read e-book online Angels: A History PDF

By David Albert Jones

ISBN-10: 0199582955

ISBN-13: 9780199582952

The publication of Genesis depicts them as doing unusual things--mating with the daughters of guys to spawn giants, for instance, and wrestling with Jacob for no obvious cause. In It's a superb Life, Frank Capra spun a story of 1 as a bumbling helper of people; in Wings of Desire, Wim Wenders advised of 1 who wanted to be human. they're angels, in fact, and so they have involved us for the reason that recorded heritage began.

In Angels, David Albert Jones presents a crisp, broad-ranging survey of angels in theology, philosophy, and pop culture. concentrating on Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, he examines how angels were imagined and defined, and why they proceed to captivate us. Jones explores the classical discussion--what they're made from, once they got here to be, what number there are, and no matter if a person ever did ask what percentage might dance at the head of a pin. He names the archangels, surveys the several hierarchies, and examines how they've got replaced through the years. Jones explains, for instance, how cherubim grew to become cherubs, and why angels within the Hebrew Bible are usually male, yet in later paintings grew to become androgynous, or maybe lady via the 20th century. The publication explores the concept that devil used to be a fallen angel (a trust no longer shared via Islam), and appears at demons and exorcism. yet Jones concentrates on reliable angels, of their roles as messengers, guardians, or helpers. He appears to be like at why the assumption of angels continues to be so appealing, and so powerful in smooth culture--even between nonbelievers.

From scripture to cinema, Jones bargains a sweeping, obtainable creation to this notable phenomenon. even if we think in angels or now not, he argues, the research in their function in cultures prior and current can educate us a lot approximately humanity.

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He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it. The image of the boylike angel with the golden spear very obviously evokes the image of the god Eros or Cupid. The experience is religious, but it is described in deliberately erotic terms.

This gradual shift from male to female also seems to confirm the suggestion of the feminist thinker Michele Le Doeuff, that once some category becomes devalued and loses its grand philosophical status then it starts to become regarded as feminine. Angels are as popular as ever, but they are not so intellectually respectable as they once were. As they are taken less seriously and command less cultural respect, so men portray them as female. 36 3 What is an Angel? Not Little Gods but Spiritual Creatures Angels are not little gods.

They were associated with the cult of Dionysius (also called Bacchus), the god of wine, and thus with the portrayal of ritual ‘Bacchic feasts’. In the second and third century CE it became common to decorate sarcophagi with images of Erotes. This practice seems to have begun for the burial of children but later was also used for adults. From very early it seems that Christians assimilated this imagery. For example, one sarcophagus of the period shows a bearded man carrying a sheep on his shoulder while winged boys gather grapes.

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Angels: A History by David Albert Jones

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