David Albert Jones Angels: A History

ISBN 13: 9780199582952

Angels: A History

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The Book of Genesis depicts them as doing strange things--mating with the daughters of men to spawn giants, for example, and wrestling with Jacob for no apparent reason. In It's a Wonderful Life, Frank Capra spun a tale of one as a bumbling helper of humans; in Wings of Desire, Wim Wenders told of one who wished to be human. They are angels, of course, and they have fascinated us since recorded history began.

In Angels, David Albert Jones provides a crisp, broad-ranging survey of angels in theology, philosophy, and popular culture. Focusing on Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, he examines how angels have been imagined and explained, and why they continue to captivate us. Jones explores the classical discussion--what they are made of, when they came to be, how many there are, and whether anyone ever did ask how many could dance on the head of a pin. He names the archangels, surveys the different hierarchies, and examines how they have changed over time. Jones explains, for example, how cherubim became cherubs, and why angels in the Hebrew Bible are typically male, but in later art became androgynous, or even female by the twentieth century. The book explores the idea that Satan was a fallen angel (a belief not shared by Islam), and looks at demons and exorcism. But Jones concentrates on good angels, in their roles as messengers, guardians, or helpers. He looks at why the idea of angels remains so attractive, and so potent in modern culture--even among nonbelievers.

From scripture to cinema, Jones offers a sweeping, accessible introduction to this remarkable phenomenon. Whether we believe in angels or not, he argues, the study of their role in cultures past and present can teach us much about humanity.

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David Albert Jones is the Academic Director in the School of Theology, Philosophy, and History at St. Mary's University College, Twickenham, Great Britain. His books include Approaching the End: A Theological Exploration of Death and Dying, The Soul of the Embry, and An Introduction to the Catholic Faith.

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*Starred Review* Noting that angels figure in today’s so-called New Age religions as well as the three great monotheisms, Jones discusses angels in art, literature, and cinema but also answers the most basic questions (e.g., What is an angel?) while trying to understand what makes angels so appealing and symbolically powerful in modern culture. He reveals how the concept of the angel developed and explains angels’ characteristic as messengers, guardians, and fallen angels. He discusses angels in biblical stories (e.g., Jacob’s ladder) and in liturgy, ventures an intelligent guess as to the number of angels, and even confronts the age-old question of how many can dance on the head of a pin. He addresses the issue of fallen angels and the notion of Satanism and romantic rebellion. Finally, he examines the meaning of angels in religion and pop culture. A persistent theme is, as he puts it, “angelology as disguised anthropology”—the interpretation of angels to procure useful insights into aspects of humanity. A lovely little book, Jones’ work is both accessible and learned, broad enough to include reflections on Thomas Aquinas’ treatise on angels and a discussion of demonic possession in Hollywood movies. Fascinating for believers and nonbelievers alike. --June Sawyers

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2010. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. What are angels? Where were they first encountered? Can we distinguish angels from gods, faeries, ghosts, and aliens? And why do they remain so popular? In this introduction to the history of angels, David Albert Jones outlines some of the more prominent stories and speculations about angels in Judaism, Islam, Christianity and post-Christian spiritualities. He reflects on the way angels are portrayed in art, whether as young men in the Hebrew Scriptures, androgynous winged creatures of the pre-Raphaelites, or the masculine statue of the Angel of the North. He also considers angels in films such as Wim Wenders Wings of Desire, and Frank Capra s It s a Wonderful Life, as well as angels in literature. From the idea of the angel as a messenger, through to the image of angels sent to protect and help those in need, this is an examination of the implications of angels. It asks why people find the idea of them so attractive, helpful or consoling, and why they remain so powerful in modern culture. In this thought-provoking introduction, Jones considers the view that reflecting on angels can teach us something about human existence. Whether or not we believe that they exist in their own right, angels can still illuminate our thoughts. Seller Inventory # AOP9780199582952

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2010. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. What are angels? Where were they first encountered? Can we distinguish angels from gods, faeries, ghosts, and aliens? And why do they remain so popular? In this introduction to the history of angels, David Albert Jones outlines some of the more prominent stories and speculations about angels in Judaism, Islam, Christianity and post-Christian spiritualities. He reflects on the way angels are portrayed in art, whether as young men in the Hebrew Scriptures, androgynous winged creatures of the pre-Raphaelites, or the masculine statue of the Angel of the North. He also considers angels in films such as Wim Wenders Wings of Desire, and Frank Capra s It s a Wonderful Life, as well as angels in literature. From the idea of the angel as a messenger, through to the image of angels sent to protect and help those in need, this is an examination of the implications of angels. It asks why people find the idea of them so attractive, helpful or consoling, and why they remain so powerful in modern culture. In this thought-provoking introduction, Jones considers the view that reflecting on angels can teach us something about human existence. Whether or not we believe that they exist in their own right, angels can still illuminate our thoughts. Seller Inventory # AOP9780199582952

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