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Re: [XTalk] once more, Jesus and angels

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: XTalk In Response To: Jeffrey Gibson and others On: Angels From: Bruce In his most recent note on this subject, Jeffrey remarked, a propos the rarity of
    Message 1 of 10 , Jun 6, 2007
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      To: XTalk
      In Response To: Jeffrey Gibson and others
      On: Angels
      From: Bruce

      In his most recent note on this subject, Jeffrey remarked, a propos the
      rarity of angels in Gospel sayings attributed to Jesus, as against matter
      seemingly derived from the Gospel writers themselves, "Why do the
      evangelists not have Jesus buttress what they believe?"

      To me, this is one of the basic questions. In general, movement founders are
      pretty plastic in the hands of the later traditions of those movements. But
      there also seem to be limits in particular cases. And when there are limits,
      they are often historically suggestive. In the Buddhist case, though Buddha
      is invariably portrayed as personally answering some question arising from
      monastic practice, he usually does so from offstage, as it were, and not as
      himself the head of a resident monastic institution. This, to me at least,
      reflects a reticence in the later sutra writers about portraying Buddha in a
      role which he could not historically have held. The Confucians too, for at
      least a century after Confucius's death, still retain the image of a
      Confucius who was poor and disadvantaged in his youth (though later on, this
      does change). As for the Christian texts, I have always admired the way gJn
      carefully distinguishes between the disciples, who *did* baptize, and Jesus,
      who "did not."

      So the rarity of angel talk among the sayings of Jesus might usefully
      reflect a historical fact, namely that angels in any serious sense are
      features of later, not earlier, Christian belief. I think it is useless to
      mix the data from all the Gospels together, in defiance of all we know about
      their relative age. I thus find it consequential that angels, in the
      Synoptics, are very much features of Mt/Lk, but are scarce in Mk. [I will
      take up the Mk passages in just a moment].

      Putting the baptism issue the other way, one can see the adoption of baptism
      in the first disciple generation as a reassimilation of Christianity to the
      Baptist movement from which, in all probability, the Jesus movement had
      originally diverged. So also with the question on fasting: Jesus himself is
      made to say in Mk 2:18-20 that though his movement did not observe fasting
      during his lifetime, it would do so after his death. These might then be two
      points of reabsorption of early Christianity into the Baptist movement.
      There are grounds in the Gospels, though not in the earliest ones, for
      thinking that the Lord's Prayer also represents later Baptist influence (Lk
      11:01). That would make three points.

      A lot is going on in the second-tier Gospels (Mt/Lk), including some mere
      retention of earlier tradition from Mk, which somewhat confuses the picture,
      but one of the new things that seems to be going on, at any rate in the Mt
      half of things, is a movement back to Judaism, from which, especially in
      matters of law, the Jesus movement seems at first to have strongly distanced
      itself, whence nearly all of the "conflict stories." Might not angels fit
      into this category also? Angels seem to be highly developed in Judaism, but
      it is, again, only in the second tier of the Christian writings that they
      make much of an effect.

      We might at this point consider the entire roster of occurrences of angels
      in Mk, to see if even that material gives a consistent picture. My
      concordance gives me the following:

      DATA

      Mk 1:13 "and the angels ministered to him." Legendary development of the
      initiation ordeal of Jesus; much further developed in Mt/Lk. It should be
      remembered that not only was Jesus a Jew, so were all his original
      followers. Their imaginations will very naturally have run along angelic
      lines. Here, at any rate, the angels are doing something on their own. See
      further below (ap Mk 13:27).

      Mk 8:38 "of him will the Son of Man be ashamed, when he comes in the glory
      of his Father with the holy angels." Angels here are little more than an
      attribute of God; part of the aura of his presence. They have no separate
      function.

      Mk 12:35 "they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels
      in Heaven." This occurs in a dispute with the Sadducees, who held special
      views about Resurrection questions. Jesus here is made to say that the
      angels in Heaven, and the spirits of the dead in Heaven, are disembodied.
      This of course conflicts with the doctrine of the Resurrection of the Body
      (and of the stories of Jesus's appearance, in the body, after his own
      Resurrection). That doctrine can easily be shown to be a late development
      within early Christianity. This passage would represent earlier tradition.
      As in the previous passage, angels are something spiritual that exist in
      Heaven, with God, and accompanying God; see Isaiah 6:1, where the text
      departs from its future predictions to a present-tense vision of God - along
      with angels. If there are two books with which Jesus (on the strength of the
      Markan testimony) was acquainted, they are probably Psalms and Isaiah.

      Mk 13:27 "And then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from
      the four winds." Apart from 1:13, this is the only place in Mk where angels
      *do* anything other than accompany the presence of God, or exist in
      disembodied state in Heaven generally. Now, Mk 13 is at variance with the
      picture of the Last Days which one might assemble from the rest of Mk, and
      it has often been described as a bit of Jewish Apocalyptic, somehow included
      (or inserted) in the text. I think this probable. Then this one active role
      of the angels has, or is influenced by, a source other than the sayings of
      Jesus, and should not be used as evidence for his own views about angels.

      Mk 13:32. "But of that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels
      in Heaven, nor the Son . . ." Here the angels are represented as being
      normally privy to the thoughts and plans of God. This agrees, if one likes,
      with their role (see Mk 1:13, 13:27) as occasional messengers of God. But
      the same objection applies as with Mk 13:27. This is in all probability a
      Jewish-influenced construct, not a Jesus-derived memory.

      INTERPRETATION

      As far as Mark goes, and I for one care to go no further (all else is
      commentary, as Rabbi Hillel said in a different context), Jesus most
      probably believed in angels as something disembodied, existing in Heaven
      with God, and accompanying human visions of God, but having neither minds
      nor missions of their own. This, I would say, is a merely pictorial concept.
      Angels have no function in the present scheme of things; they represent the
      future scheme of things. When you see actual angels overhead, not in a
      vision but in the regular blue sky, you will know that the future has
      intruded into the present, like Elfland into "the world we know" at the end
      of one of Lord Dunsany's novels.

      Respectfully suggested,

      Bruce

      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst
      http://www.umass.edu/wsp
    • Jeffrey B. Gibson
      ... Umm .. strictly speaking I said nothing about the **rarity** of Jesus reference to angels. I said that what he is reported as saying **about the
      Message 2 of 10 , Jun 6, 2007
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        E Bruce Brooks wrote:

        > To: XTalk
        > In Response To: Jeffrey Gibson and others
        > On: Angels
        > From: Bruce
        >
        > In his most recent note on this subject, Jeffrey remarked, a propos the
        > rarity of angels in Gospel sayings attributed to Jesus, as against matter
        > seemingly derived from the Gospel writers themselves, "Why do the
        > evangelists not have Jesus buttress what they believe?"
        >

        Umm .. strictly speaking I said nothing about the **rarity** of Jesus' reference
        to angels. I said that what he is reported as saying **about the functions of
        angels*** only occasionally overlaps with what the evangelists say in this regard
        in their narratives about angels.

        >
        > To me, this is one of the basic questions. In general, movement founders are
        > pretty plastic in the hands of the later traditions of those movements. But
        > there also seem to be limits in particular cases. And when there are limits,
        > they are often historically suggestive. In the Buddhist case, though Buddha
        > is invariably portrayed as personally answering some question arising from
        > monastic practice, he usually does so from offstage, as it were, and not as
        > himself the head of a resident monastic institution. This, to me at least,
        > reflects a reticence in the later sutra writers about portraying Buddha in a
        > role which he could not historically have held. The Confucians too, for at
        > least a century after Confucius's death, still retain the image of a
        > Confucius who was poor and disadvantaged in his youth (though later on, this
        > does change). As for the Christian texts, I have always admired the way gJn
        > carefully distinguishes between the disciples, who *did* baptize, and Jesus,
        > who "did not."
        >
        >
        > A lot is going on in the second-tier Gospels (Mt/Lk), including some mere
        > retention of earlier tradition from Mk, which somewhat confuses the picture,
        > but one of the new things that seems to be going on, at any rate in the Mt
        > half of things, is a movement back to Judaism, from which, especially in
        > matters of law, the Jesus movement seems at first to have strongly distanced
        > itself, whence nearly all of the "conflict stories." Might not angels fit
        > into this category also? Angels seem to be highly developed in Judaism, but
        > it is, again, only in the second tier of the Christian writings that they
        > make much of an effect.
        >

        I think you can make this claim only if you neglect the "angel talk" that appears
        in Paul, of which there is a decent amount, yes?

        Yours,

        Jeffrey
        --
        Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
        1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
        Chicago, Illinois
        e-mail jgibson000@...
      • Bob Schacht
        ... Now wait a minute. When you write evangelists here, do you mean only the authors of the Gospels? Interesting presentation. For those of us who don t
        Message 3 of 10 , Jun 6, 2007
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          At 02:33 PM 6/6/2007, Jeffrey B. Gibson wrote:


          >Horace Jeffery Hodges wrote:
          >
          > > Jeffrey, could it be that the early Christians downplayed the role of
          > angels in the light of high Christology and thus ignored statements by
          > Jesus that might have reflected the other functions of angels?
          > >
          > > On the other hand, angels are elsewhere shown in the New Testament in
          > other roles, so perhaps the early Christians would have had no problem
          > with the various angelic functions. This might be an argument for your
          > main point.
          >
          >Yes, as Oesterly noted some time ago, there is quite a difference between
          >what the evangelists themselves have to say about angels and what they
          >report Jesus as saying. Whether or not this is an argument for my main
          >point, it
          >certainly is a curiosity. Why do the evangelists not have Jesus buttress
          >what they believe?

          Now wait a minute. When you write "evangelists" here, do you mean only the
          authors of the Gospels? Interesting presentation.

          For those of us who don't have Oesterly handy, what are some examples of
          "what the evangelists themselves have to say about angels" that are
          different from "what they report Jesus as saying"? You don't cover that in
          your post, and I should think it would be an important subject. After all,
          you contrast what Jesus was reported to say with what [other] Jewish
          sources attest their roles and activities to be.

          So, ISTM, your article should attest three points of view, and how they are
          similar, and how they are different:
          1. Jesus, as reported by the evangelists
          2. The evangelists
          3. Other Jewish sources-- and maybe for good measure,
          4. Contemporary Gentile Middle Platonists.

          ISTM that would be more interesting.

          By way of explanations, here's what I would look for:
          I would start out from the assumption that the evangelists (#2) were
          steeped in the cosmology of (#3) and (#4). When confronted with what they
          thought Jesus was saying (#1) , they would try to reconcile it with who
          they understood Jesus to be. The easiest thing to do would be to think of
          Jesus in terms of an angelic figure of some kind.

          But they could not merely say that Jesus was like an angel, or was a
          certain category of angel, because then they would be confronted with other
          candidates for the same type of angelic role. They had to make his role
          unique, in order to avoid dealing with imposters. We don't see this in the
          NT until GJohn, because that is the only book in the NT that insists that
          Jesus was God's ONLY son (Chapter 1).

          YMMV,
          Bob Schacht




          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • E Bruce Brooks
          To: XTalk In Response To: Jeffrey Gibson On: Angels From: Bruce I had suggested, based on the Markan evidence as against the rest of the Synoptic evidence,
          Message 4 of 10 , Jun 6, 2007
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            To: XTalk
            In Response To: Jeffrey Gibson
            On: Angels
            From: Bruce

            I had suggested, based on the Markan evidence as against the rest of the
            Synoptic evidence, that angels were not a strong part of Jesus' worldview,
            and amounted to no more than decorative enhancement in visions of God. I had
            further suggested that the stronger and more numerous angels in the later
            Synoptics might represent a reversion of early Christianity to a Jewish view
            of things, just as the practice of baptism and fasting in the early Church
            seems to represent a reversion to the Baptist movement of which it had at
            first been a part. The last line of a paragraph of mine quoted by Jeffrey
            went: "Might not angels fit into this category also? Angels seem to be
            highly developed in Judaism, but it is, again, only in the second tier of
            the Christian writings that they make much of an effect."

            JEFFREY: I think you can make this claim only if you neglect the "angel
            talk" that appears in Paul, of which there is a decent amount, yes?

            BRUCE: Well, a certain amount. But Paul is perhaps a different story. One
            point of difference among the various Gospels is how far they are
            assimilated to the Christianity of Paul. In Mark, those points of
            assimilation are few and textually suspect; that is, they may be intrusions
            into, or adjustments in, what at an earlier stage would have reflected a
            pre-Pauline Christianity. In Luke/Acts, the assimilation is total: Paul's
            mission defines the direction that Luke/Acts sees Christianity as moving in;
            he is the hero of the story. If Paul's genuine Epistles show some angel
            talk, and if Mt/Lk also show some angel talk, there would seem to be little
            ground for surprise. But all of this would still seem to postdate Mark, and
            to attest a later stage, or several parallel later stages, of doctrinal
            evolution beyond the point of which, whenever it was written down, the
            Gospel of Mark is aware.

            I take Mark, whenever it was written down, as our best witness for Jesus.
            One thing you can say about Paul, he sure didn't leave Christianity the way
            he found it. Mark (and a few other documents; I would include the earlier
            layer of James) gives us a much better chance to see what Christianity was
            like before Paul found it. While, in fact, he was still persecuting it, and
            had not yet, in his masterful way, taken up the chore of managing it.

            Bruce

            E Bruce Brooks
            Warring States Project
            University of Massachusetts at Amherst
            http://www.umass.edu/wsp
          • Antonio Lombatti
            There are some online free papers (with full .PDF text), that can be read or downloaded from here: BIBLICA, vol. 88 (2007), fasc. 1 http://www.bsw.org/?l=7188
            Message 5 of 10 , Jun 7, 2007
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              There are some online free papers (with full .PDF text), that can be
              read or downloaded from here:

              BIBLICA, vol. 88 (2007), fasc. 1

              http://www.bsw.org/?l=7188

              Among others

              H. van de Sandt, «James 4,1-4 in the Light of the Jewish Two Ways
              Tradition 3,1-6» , p. 38-63
              R. Schwindt, «Mehr Wurzel als Stamm und Krone. Zur Bildrede vom
              Ölbaum in Röm 11,16-24», p. 64-91
              A. Hock, «Christ is the Parade: A Comparative Study of the Triumphal
              Procession in 2 Cor 2,14 and Col 2,15», p. 110-119

              By the way: What about my previous message about the Tomb of James?
              Anyone? It seems strange to me that this question was not raised
              during the world wide debate about the hoax of James's ossuary.

              Antonio Lombatti

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Jeffrey B. Gibson
              ... Yes. Who else qualifies for that title? ... Thanks! ... My post contained only the second half of the article. I sent a draft of the first half -- in
              Message 6 of 10 , Jun 7, 2007
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                Bob Schacht wrote:

                > At 02:33 PM 6/6/2007, Jeffrey B. Gibson wrote:
                >
                > >Horace Jeffery Hodges wrote:
                > >
                > > > Jeffrey, could it be that the early Christians downplayed the role of
                > > angels in the light of high Christology and thus ignored statements by
                > > Jesus that might have reflected the other functions of angels?
                > > >
                > > > On the other hand, angels are elsewhere shown in the New Testament in
                > > other roles, so perhaps the early Christians would have had no problem
                > > with the various angelic functions. This might be an argument for your
                > > main point.
                > >
                > >Yes, as Oesterly noted some time ago, there is quite a difference between
                > >what the evangelists themselves have to say about angels and what they
                > >report Jesus as saying. Whether or not this is an argument for my main
                > >point, it
                > >certainly is a curiosity. Why do the evangelists not have Jesus buttress
                > >what they believe?
                >
                > Now wait a minute. When you write "evangelists" here, do you mean only the
                > authors of the Gospels?

                Yes. Who else qualifies for that title?

                > Interesting presentation.

                Thanks!

                >
                >
                > For those of us who don't have Oesterly handy, what are some examples of
                > "what the evangelists themselves have to say about angels" that are
                > different from "what they report Jesus as saying"? You don't cover that in
                > your post, and I should think it would be an important subject.

                My post contained only the second half of the article. I sent a draft of the
                first half -- in which I discuss what the evangelists and other NT and Jewish
                sources tell us about angels -- to XTalk some time ago..

                I've posted the whole thing below.

                > After all,
                > you contrast what Jesus was reported to say with what [other] Jewish
                > sources attest their roles and activities to be.
                >
                > So, ISTM, your article should attest three points of view, and how they are
                > similar, and how they are different:
                > 1. Jesus, as reported by the evangelists
                > 2. The evangelists
                > 3. Other Jewish sources-- and maybe for good measure,
                > 4. Contemporary Gentile Middle Platonists.
                >
                > ISTM that would be more interesting.

                Well, except for the fact that I'm not sure if there is a Gentile middle Platonist
                set of beliefs about angels, I have tried to do what you ask.

                >
                >
                > By way of explanations, here's what I would look for:
                > I would start out from the assumption that the evangelists (#2) were
                > steeped in the cosmology of (#3) and (#4). When confronted with what they
                > thought Jesus was saying (#1) , they would try to reconcile it with who
                > they understood Jesus to be. The easiest thing to do would be to think of
                > Jesus in terms of an angelic figure of some kind.
                >
                > But they could not merely say that Jesus was like an angel, or was a
                > certain category of angel, because then they would be confronted with other
                > candidates for the same type of angelic role. They had to make his role
                > unique, in order to avoid dealing with imposters. We don't see this in the
                > NT until GJohn, because that is the only book in the NT that insists that
                > Jesus was God's ONLY son (Chapter 1).
                >

                These are all interesting and intriguing suggestions. But my mandate from the
                editors of the Routledge Encyclopedia of the Historical Jesus was to first set
                out the idea of angels in Judaism and then move to an analysis of Jesus', and not
                the disciples' or the evangelists', attitude toward angels -- and to do this in
                1000 words or so.

                So your suggestion of how to go about this is something I could not do.

                Anyway, here's full text of the entry.

                Jeffrey

                ******
                Angels

                Celestial, numinous, semi-corporeal (2 Enoch 1:5 [A]; but cf. Jubilees 15:27
                which describes angels as circumcised), powerful beings, anthropomorphic in
                form in earthly manifestation and often visually glorious (cf., e.g., 2 Enoch 5;
                Luke 2:9; 9:26; Acts 12:7; 2 Pet 2:10; Jude 8; cf. Acts 6:15), who were regarded
                by all parties within 1st century Judaism (the Sadducees, despite the apparent
                testimony of Acts 23:8, being no exception; cf D. Daube [1990]; B.T. Viviano and
                J. Taylor [1992]) as having been created by the God of Israel before or shortly
                after his establishment of the world (cf. Job 38:7; Jub. 2:2; Bereshith Rabba
                3), and who, under the explicit direction or the permissive will of their
                creator, carry out a variety of functions, depending on their status as
                "heavenly" and "holy" or as "rebellious" and fallen".

                The primary function of "heavenly" angels is to serve as divine "messengers" –
                envoys who speak in the name, and with the authority, of God himself. In this
                capacity they take on such tasks as announcing the births of important figures
                within the divine plan (cf. Gen 16:11–12; Gen 18:9–15; Judg 13:3–5; Matt.
                1:18-23; Lk 1:8-21; 26-38; 28-12), communicating "the word of the Lord" to
                prophets (Elijah, 2 Kgs 1:3, 15; 1 Kgs 13:18; 1 Kgs 22:19–22; Isaiah 6; Jer
                23:18, 23), delivering the Torah (Acts 7:53, Gal. 3:19), and relaying (and
                interpreting) divine injunctions and promises or revealing the future to those to
                whom they are sent (Zech. 1:9; 4:5-6; Dan. 8:16; 4QSerekh Shirot ‘Olat ha-Shabbat,
                Matt. 1:20-21; Lk. 1:35; Rev. 1:1)

                But they also are commissioned as agents whose role is to give assurances to those
                in fear, to render service to those under trial, to protect those who travel
                (Dan. 10:13, 20; 11: 1; 12: 1; 2 Macc. I I 3 Macc. 6:18; Sus. 45; Bel 34-39; Enoch
                20:5; J 35:17; lQH 5.21-22; IQS 9,15; lQM 9.16; . T. Jud. 3:10), to bring the
                prayers and the petitions of the faithful before God (Tob. 12:15; 2 Bar. 11 G; 1
                QH 6.13), and to intervene at crucial moments of a person's life to change or
                guide that person's actions (Hagar, Gen 16:9; Abraham, Gen 22:11–12; Balaam, Num
                22:31–35; the people of Israel, Judg 2:1–5; Joseph, betrothed of Mary, Matt.
                1:18-23; 2:19-23).

                Notable, too, is that they are given the task of requiting disobedience to God in
                both the present (2 Kngs. 19:35; 1 Macc. 7:41; 2Macc. 15:22-23; Sir. 48:2,
                Josephus, War 5:388 Sus. 55; LXX Job 33:23; Acts. 12:23) and, especially, at the
                end of the age, when they will be witness to and an instrument of divine
                judgement and justice against apostates and all enemies of God's people (Dan 7:10;
                1QM 17:5; 1QS 4:11-14; CD 5-7; 1 Enoch 10:13; 90:24-26; 2 Thess. 1:7; Rev. 3:5;
                14:14-20; 15:1; 16:1; 21:9).

                They were envisaged as an army (2 Baruch 5:11; 70; Test. Levi 3:3; Matt. 26:53;
                Lk. 2:13-14) which is drawn up in hierarchical orders and distinct ranks, headed
                by commanders called archangels ( the number of these commanders varies.
                According to Tob. 12:1 G; Enoch 81:5; 90:21-22; 2 Esdr. 5:20, there are seven;
                according to Enoch 40; 87:2-3; 88:1, four; according to Enoch 90:31, three), and
                were expected to participate in a final war against the wicked ((Zech. 14:13; lQH
                3.35-36; 10.34-35; 1 15.14).

                And as T.H. Gaster has noted, the "holy ones" were also portrayed as the
                controlling spirits of such natural phenomena as celestial bodies and winds (Enoch
                19:1; 40:4-5; 60: 12, 16-21; 61:10; 72:1; Jub. 2:2-3; lQH 1.10-11~ 47.7-13) and of
                the seasons as well as of such abstractions as peace (Enoch 40:8; 52:5; Test. Dan
                6:5; Test. Asher 6:6; Test. Benj. 6:1; cf. Isa. 33:7), healing (Tob. 33: 17;
                Enoch 10:7; 40:9), and death (II Bar. 21:23; cf. Prov. 16:14).

                "Fallen angels"
                The primary function of "fallen angels," who, like their "heavenly" counterparts,
                are envisaged as ranked under the leadership of a prince (s8ar) -- identified
                variously as Mastema (Jub. 10:8), Beelzebul, Satan (Matt. 25:41; 2 Cor. 12:7. 1
                Pet. 3:19 f.) the enemy; the evil one, the ruler of this world, the adversary,
                the devil, Beliar and other names -- is to separate Israel from God by ensnaring
                them in evil, inciting them to apostasy, and leading the elect astray. But they
                also, in conjunction with their primary function, and in conformity with their
                rebellious nature, serve to arouse and direct the "Nations", over whom they were
                originally set as guardians (cf. Dan. 10:13, 20, 21; 12:1, Jub. 15:31-32; 1 Enoch
                89.59 among other texts), to dominate, if not to destroy, God's people in an
                attempt to frustrate or make impossible the implementation of God's purposes in
                and for the world.


                Jesus and Angels

                The evangelists record Jesus as speaking of both "heavenly" and "fallen" angels
                on a number of occasions. Accepting the authenticity of these dominical sayings,
                several things follow with respect to the question of Jesus' view of , and
                attitude towards, these creatures.

                In concert with his co-religionists, Jesus

                1. had no doubts of their existence. He accepted without question , and
                proclaimed as an ontological given, both their reality and their division into
                categories of "heavenly" and "fallen" (Matt .25:41);

                2. believed that angels were numerous, that they were arrayed in ranks and in
                hierarchies (Mt 26:53), and that "fallen" angels were led by, and were minions of,
                a "prince of demons"(Mk. 3:23-26).

                3. thought that in the present age angels were superior to human beings (though,
                like men, they were limited in knowledge of God's ultimate secrets [Mk.
                13:32//Matt. 24:36]); but in the world to come the righteous shall stand as their
                equals (Lk 20:36)

                4. believed that the rebelliousness of the "fallen" angels and their work was
                doomed to defeat.


                But if we allow an argument from silence and take as significant what is absent
                from Jesus's statements about angels vis a vis what Jewish sources attest their
                roles and activities to be, it appears that Jesus seems not to have shared all
                of his co- religionists (or even the evangelists') beliefs about angelic
                functions. While he accepts the ideas that "heavenly" angels act as advocates of
                the pious (Matt. 18:10; 26:53; cf. Lk. 16:22) and that "fallen" angels, and
                especially their leader, strive to separate the faithful from God (Matt. 6:13; Mk.
                8:33//Matt. 16:23; Lk. 22:31-32), we find no (recorded) emphasis placed by Jesus
                on their known roles as "messengers", "protectors", and intermediaries between
                God and men. Indeed, in contrast with the views of his co religionists, it is only
                the "fallen" angels that he envisages as active among men. For Jesus, the work of
                "heavenly angels" is, rather, carried out in the realms above and at the dawning
                of the world to come.

                Judging by the content of the bulk of the preserved dominical statements about
                angels,. Jesus regarded their primary role to be that of divine agents who at the
                end of the age gather the elect and the wicked before the throne of God and act
                both as witnesses to the declarations of the Son of Man as he testifies at a great
                assize against those who in Jesus' own age had been "ashamed" of him and his
                words, and as the implementers of his judgments (Mk. 8:38; Matt; 16:27; 25:31,
                41; Lk. 9:26; 12:8 ; cf. Mk. 13:26; Matt 13:39, 41, 49; 24:31).

                Though it is beyond the scope of this article to account for why it is that Jesus
                apparently held this comparatively circumscribed view of angelic functions,
                especially with respect to those of "heavenly" angels", the answer may lie
                somewhere along the lines of W.O.E. Oesterley's suggestion that it is due to a
                conviction on Jesus' part that he, along with the Holy Spirit, are the ones who
                have been empowered with the roles of envoy, intermediary, and advocate that in
                Jewish tradition were thought to be angels' provenance.


                Bibliography and suggestions for Further Reading.

                Bamberger, Bernard Jacob, Fallen Angels (Philadelphia : Jewish Publication Society
                of America, 1952).

                Daube, David, "On Acts 23: Saducees and Angels", JBL 109 (1990) 493-497;

                Davidson, Maxwell John, "Angel", in The New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible
                (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2006) Vol 1:148-155.

                Gaster, T.H. "Angel" in The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, ed George A.
                Buttrick (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1962), Vol. 1: 128-134.

                Grundmann, W., Von Rad, G, Kittel, G., "aggeloj, arxaggeloj, isaggeloj", TDNT,
                ed. G.W. Bromiley (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964) Vol. 1: 74-87.

                Meier, S.A, "Angel I" in Dictionary of Demons and Deities in the Bible, Second
                Edition, eds. Karel van der Toorn, Pieter Willem van der Horst, Bob Becking
                (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999), 45-50.

                Newson, Carol A., "Angels: Old Testament" in the Anchor Bible Dictionary, ed.
                David Noel Freedman (Doubleday, 1992) Vol. 1: 248-253.

                Oesterley, W.O. E., "Angels" in Dictionary of the Bible, ed. James Hastings.
                one-volume edition (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1924), 31-53.

                Page, Sidney H.T., Powers of Evil: A Biblical Study of Satan & Demons (Grand
                Rapids: Baker) 1995.

                Russel, D.H., The Method and Message of Jewish Apocalyptic (Philadelphia:
                Fortress,1964) 235-262.

                van Henten, J.W., "Angel II" in Dictionary of Demons and Deities in the Bible,
                Second Edition, eds. Karel van der Toorn, Pieter Willem van der Horst, Bob Becking
                (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999), 50-53.

                Viviano, B.T. and Taylor, Justin, "Sadducees, Angels, and Resurrection (Acts
                23:8-9)," JBL 111 (1992) 496-498.

                Watson, Duane F. "Angels: New Testament" in the Anchor Bible Dictionary , ed.
                David Noel Freedman (Doubleday, 1992) Vol. 1: 253-255.

                ******
                --
                Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
                1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
                Chicago, Illinois
                e-mail jgibson000@...
              • Antonio Lombatti
                Maybe you re interested in a paper published in an Italian weekly magazine about Raztinger s book on Jesus: Christ, too many errors (Cristo, quanti errori)
                Message 7 of 10 , Jun 9, 2007
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                  Maybe you're interested in a paper published in an Italian weekly
                  magazine about Raztinger's book on Jesus:

                  Christ, too many errors (Cristo, quanti errori)
                  http://espresso.repubblica.it/dettaglio/Cristo-quanti-errori/1635347

                  The reviewer of the book underlines all the mistakes that have been
                  done by the Pope: wrong quotation of Mount Oreb instead of Mount
                  Moriah when he writes about Isaac's sacrifice. Multiple erroneous
                  reference to Palm Sunday when that festivity didn't exist yet. He
                  used the Hebrew "sukkot" (p. 362) as a masculine plural noun while it
                  is a feminine one. He wrote that the nominative " 'epistàta" was
                  used, while it is a vocative, and its nominative is " 'epistàtes"; he
                  has a wrong translation of "doxa" and many other errors.

                  Trust me: it's difficult to see such a hard review of the Pope's
                  works here in Italy.


                  Antonio Lombatti




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