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Title: Israel Among the Angels: A Study of Angels in Jewish Texts from the Fourth to Eighth Century CE
Authors: Ahuvia, Mika
Advisors: Schafer, Peter
Contributors: Religion Department
Keywords: Angel
Subjects: Religion
Judaic studies
Near Eastern studies
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation examines how Jews conceptualized angels in rabbinic, liturgical, ritual, and early mystical sources from the fourth through the eighth century C.E. in Palestine and Babylonia. While some rabbinic traditions uphold the angels as messengers of God, others were more ambivalent toward them, discouraging attention to angels and privileging the close relationship between Israel and God instead. Chapter two centers on the liturgical works of the sixth century poet Yannai and his synthesis of diverse Jewish traditions about angels in his liturgical texts. This chapter contextualizes Yannai's encouragement of his audience to think of themselves as praying with the angels, and examines how Yannai singles out certain authorities within the synagogue for comparison with the angels. Chapter three highlights the variety of ways in which Jews invoked angels and other authorities for assistance in so-called "magical" or ritual bowls, amulets, and manuals from Babylonia and Palestine. Ritual texts in particular show that named and unnamed angels were part of a spectrum of authority figures to which ancient Jews appealed in their times of need. Alongside angels, Jews turned to ritual practitioners, folk heroes, and rabbis for guidance and intercession with God. Chapter four investigates the early mystical treatise Hekhalot Rabbati, which captures the worldview of those Jews most preoccupied with angels. Jewish mystics strove to live in synchronicity with the angels, to achieve angelic status, and even to command the angels. As each chapter demonstrates, no systematic angelology predominated among Jews in late antiquity. Rather, different circles of Jews upheld different traditions about angels. Ancient Jewish texts on angels reveal a diverse and dynamic society, where many mediating figures bridged the gap between Israel and God and served a variety of functions for individuals and communities.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Religion

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