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(Text as at 12/08/2007 10:17:46)
Angels appear to have made a late appearance on the scene in ancient Israel, as is evidenced (at least according to the New Testament) by the Saduccees' refusal to believe in them.
- As theology developed, and with it an increasing feeling for the divine transcendence, the need for mediators between God and man seems to have been felt, and was taken to extremes in post-Biblical times. Their real existence is therefore additionally open to doubt beyond the common objection of lack of direct observation.
- Since angels ultimately bore the characteristics of spiritual courtiers, this aspect may not have been thought of until the monarchy (ie. under David & his descendants).
- Theophanies had been reported to have occurred during the times of the patriarchs and judges (eg. to Abraham, Lot, Moses, Manoah etc).
- There are plentiful accounts of angels in the Pentateuch, though in the guise of messengers of God, which appears to have been their original function (as is evidenced by etymology of the word for "angel" in both Hebrew [malak] and Greek [angellos], both of which mean "sent one"). The term "angel" may, of course, have been edited into earlier texts, though there is no way of proving this.
- Much more could be said on this subject, including an analysis of the other forms of heavenly being (eg. the cherubim, which appear to have been depicted in the Tabernacle, the seraphim etc).
- The fact that angeology caught the imagination of later Gnostics and Kabbalists should not infect this analysis, however.
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||Reference for this Topic
||425 (Spiritual Beings - Angels)
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