THE ORIGINS OF JEWISH BELIEFS IN ANGELS
AbstractThis article suggests that Jewish beliefs about the functioning of angels originated in two threads: the unique ancient Egyptian institution of the king as the divine son of God (which includes solar worship), and the concept of the Divine Council, in which the supreme God is the king of the gods. The method of investigation involved a close reading, combined with a History of Religions methodology, of texts displaying marked angelological content. Certain motifs, especially “throne” and “sun/fire”, which were identified as characteristic of angelic functioning, were compared across a broad spectrum of texts. In this way the diachronic development of major angelological motifs as well as the synchronic connections (in terms of angelological motifs) between the respective cultural contexts became apparent. In a following article, it is suggested that the intellectual abstractions of Hellenism effected the transition to the reception of the concept of Christianity within a monotheistic framework.
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