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Fallen Angels

Soldiers of Satan's Realm

Authored by Bernard J. Bamberger

Publication Year: 2006

The problem of evil has challenged mankind ever since the dawn of intelligence. Why is there evil in the world and why do pain and suffering come upon those who do not seem to deserve it? Written in a simple, popular style, Bamberger's book, first published in 1952, will appeal to anyone who, no matter what his own answer to the question may be, is curious to learn how it has been answered in the past or is being answered by others in our own age. The author traces the history of the belief in fallen angels in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and assembles a variety of tales and superstitions -- some grotesque, others quaint and humorous. His presentation also reveals a basic divergence between Judaism and Christianity in their respective attitudes toward the devil. The concluding chapter of the work deals with the return of the devil to prominence in contemporary religious thought and shows how Judaism seeks its own solution to the problem of evil. The book contains an extensive bibliography, notes, and index.

Published by: Jewish Publication Society

Title page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii

Work on the studies here presented was greatly facilitated because the resources of the following libraries were available to me: the Albany Public Library, the New York Public Library, the New York State Library, and the libraries of the Catholic University of America, Columbia University, ...


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pp. ix-xi

PART ONE Gateway

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CHAPTER ONE Introducing the Theme

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pp. 3-7

The study of ideas may be both interesting and practical: it is important to know, for example, how the democracy of Franklin D. Roosevelt differed from the democracy of Thomas Jefferson. But what value can there be in the history of a mythological idea, a belief in angels, and in sinful angels at that? ...

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CHAPTER TWO The Hebrew Scriptures

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pp. 7-13

The post-biblical authors who told the stories of the rebel angels believed themselves to be expositors of Scripture. They were only elaborating with greater clarity and detail what was already hinted in the Bible. Were they right in this supposition? On this point scholars have disagreed. So our first inquiry is: ...

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PART TWO The Outside Books; Introduction

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pp. 14-16

The story of the fallen angels, which we did not find in the Bible, appears fully in works which Jewish tradition characterizes as the Outside Books, that is books left out of the Scriptural canon. They are writings which imitate the biblical style, usually with indifferent success. The oldest of them are ...

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CHAPTER THREE The Ethiopic Enoch

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pp. 16-21

Over a century ago the explorer Bruce brought back to England from Abyssinia three manuscripts of an Ethiopic work called the Book of Enoch. It has now been established that the original of this work was composed in Palestine, in Hebrew or Aramaic -- or perhaps some sections in one tongue, some in the other.1 ...

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CHAPTER FOUR The Ethiopic Enoch (continued)

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pp. 21-23

Somewhat later than the chapters just considered according to Dr. Charles -- are those which now follow immediately the first account of the fallen angels. Here we find the ancient seer Enoch in direct contact with the rebellious spirits. He has already ceased to be a mortal, and appears in his character of heavenly ...

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CHAPTER FIVE The Ethiopic Enoch (concluded)

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pp. 23-26

Now we come to a kind of vision, or apocalypse, I quite common in the Outside Books. In it an ancient seer beholds the panorama of world history, from Creation to the coming of the Messiah. This final redemption is to be preceded by a period of great suffering. Such revelations were written to give hope and ...

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CHAPTER SIX Jubilees, Testaments, Zadokite Work

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pp. 26-32

The Book of Jubilees, which we possess in a secondary Ethiopic translation, retells the Bible story from Creation to the giving of the Torah, with many changes and embellishments. These reflect the peculiar religious ideas of the author, especially his distinctive calendar system. The date of Jubilees ...

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CHAPTER SEVEN The Slavonic Enoch

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pp. 32-35

In Jewish literature of the first pre-Christian century, the story of the fallen angels is mentioned only in passing or not at all. The one exception to this statement is, significantly, an Enoch-book. This book (called II Enoch, or The Book of the Secrets of Enoch) is quite different from the old Enoch book ...

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pp. 35-37

Though the story of the lustful angels faded from JL Jewish literature before the Christian era, it lingered -- as we shall see -- in the minds of the people. Meantime, writers continued to discourse about the Devil, by one name or another. Among the works which display this dualistic outlook, few are more ...

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CHAPTER NINE The Testament of Job

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pp. 37-42

The biblical Book of Job, one of the grandest creations of the human spirit, is devoted chiefly to a dialogue, profound and passionate, on the question: why do the righteous suffer and the wicked prosper? As introduction to the dialogue, we read the story of the blameless Job who was subjected to a series ...

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CHAPTER TEN Esdras, Baruch, Pseudo-Philo

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pp. 42-45

The fall of the Jewish state, the destruction of Jerusalem, and the burning of the Temple were an overwhelming tragedy for all Jewry, and especially for the Jews of Palestine. More than ever were they conscious of the reality and pervasiveness of evil. Shortly after the debacle, two great apocalypses ...

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CHAPTER ELEVEN The Apocalypse of Abraham

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pp. 46-49

The last of the Outside Books we must consider, though extraordinarily interesting, has been somewhat neglected by scholars.1 It is the Apocalypse of Abraham, preserved in a Slavonic translation which contains many unintelligible passages and several additions by Christian scribes. The original was composed in ...

PART THREE Crossroads

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CHAPTER TWELVE Hellenistic Writings

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pp. 51-53

The long array of books we have examined were all, or nearly all, written in Palestine, in Hebrew or the related Aramaic language, and for Jewish readers. But during the same years, Jews in Egypt and elsewhere were producing a voluminous literature in Greek, the international language of the time. This literature ...

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CHAPTER THIRTEEN Where the Ways Divide

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pp. 54-59

Standing at the crossroads, we glance backward, then look ahead. We have seen many variations of the myth of the rebel angels. We have recognized in this myth the attempt of certain Jewish teachers to solve the riddle of human suffering and moral evil. The long drawn out tragedy of Palestinian Jewry -- above all, ...

PART FOUR The Early Christian Church

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pp. 61-72

We have dealt up to this point with writings which, with a few exceptions, have had little direct influence on world culture. Many of them were long unknown even to the learned. We come now to literature which has profoundly affected the life and thought of mankind -- the Christian Scriptures. The New Testament ...

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CHAPTER FIFTEEN The Church Fathers

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pp. 73-87

Some of the early Christian writings were accepted ras authoritative; others were excluded from the New Testament as apocryphal. A few, like the Shepherd of Hernias, once regarded by some Christians as Scripture, are now classified among the "Apostolic Fathers." The oldest documents in this group belong to the ...

PART FIVE The Rabbis

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CHAPTER SIXTEEN Talmud and Midrash

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pp. 89-111

Turning from the Fathers of the Church to the Fathers of the Synagogue, we encounter an entirely different kind of literature, with entirely different problems. The Talmud comes from the same period as the writings of the Church Fathers and deals with some of the same issues. Talmudic literature, like ...

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CHAPTER SEVENTEEN Interlude: The Legend in Islam

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pp. 111-117

The compilation of the Talmud did not close an epoch in the development of Jewish thought. A vast body of material which had circulated orally or in private notebooks was now safely preserved in writing; but the content of the living tradition was not exhausted even by these voluminous works. The scholars ...

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CHAPTER EIGHTEEN New Paths: The Visionaries

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pp. 117-127

For centuries after the Talmud was completed, world Jewry had its spiritual center in the academies of Babylonia. The presidents of these academies, from the sixth century onward, bore the title of Gaon, "Excellency." The period up to about 1000 is known in Jewish history as the Gaonic period. ...

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CHAPTER NINETEEN New Paths: The Later Aggada

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pp. 128-145

A sharp line of demarcation cannot be drawn between the apocalyptic and mystical writings and those that are purely aggadic; but the classification is a convenient one. This chapter deals with Midrashim that depart in some respect from the older standpoints; for, as we have seen, some later Midrashim are ...

PART SIX Medieval Judaism

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CHAPTER TWENTY The Rationalists

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pp. 147-161

After a long journey on dim and misty paths, we emerge into clear daylight. The last two chapters dealt with writings that occupy a marginal place within Judaism; their origin is obscure; their influence, with a few exceptions, was limited. From them we now turn to famous works by illustrious men of Israel. ...

PART SEVEN Jewish Mysticism

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pp. 163-168

Mystic piety, the sense of immediate communion with the divine, is strongly evidenced in many pages of the Bible. In post-biblical times, mystical movements were not infrequent. Groups of aspiring individuals perfected and transmitted techniques for entering the "Paradise" of spiritual ecstasy. Side by side with ...

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pp. 168-176

The "Spanish" Cabala began, not in Spain, but in Provence, where the book called Bahir ("Radiance") was composed in the twelfth century. It is said to mark the transition from the older Gaonic mysticism to the later Cabala.1 Here we find in considerable development (though the expression is fragmentary and obscure) ...

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pp. 176-186

In the last years of the thirteenth century, the book called the Zohar began to circulate among Spanish Cabalists. It is a kind of rambling commentary on the Pentateuch, together with sections based on Ruth and the Song of Songs. Its contents are not exclusively mystical; much of it has an ethical or ...

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pp. 186-194

The Zohar quickly achieved enormous influence and its teachings were widely accepted as authoritative. The doctrines of the "other side," "the husks," and the fallen angels, and the general consciousness of a satanic element in the world, are familiar in post-Zoharic Jewish literature. Even those writings ...

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CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE Mysticism for the Masses

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pp. 194-199

The movement of Sabbatai Zevi was a natural outgrowth of Luria's Cabala; but the latter was not discredited in the eyes of the faithful because of its monstrous offspring. Jewish life continued to be dominated by the mystic mood, in the dark ascetic version of the Safed school. Comparatively few were concerned ...

PART EIGHT Christian Theology

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CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX The Devil of the Philosophers

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pp. 201-208

We turn back to the Middle Ages to survey Christian beliefs concerning the Devil. A real development of the idea cannot be expected. The New Testament writings and the opinions of the great Fathers, notably Augustine, had fixed the doctrine of the Church rather clearly; and the Fourth Lateran Council ...

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CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN The Devil of the People

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pp. 208-220

The highly abstract conception of the Devil presented in the previous chapter was of interest only to a few exalted intellects; but the popular notions to which we now turn were not confined to quaint villagers. They were shared by laity and clergy alike; even men of vast erudition believed in a most realistic ...

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CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT Protestant Christianity

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pp. 220-233

LUTHER. The Protestant Reformation was not a jmodernist or liberal movement, though it eventually led to such developments. At the start it was a reaction against the corruption of the Catholic Church and a manifestation of the growing spirit of nationalism. Martin Luther was less of a liberal than such ...

PART NINE The Devil in Modern Dress

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CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE The Century of Liberalism

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pp. 235-239

Jewish thought in the nineteenth century was dominated by rationalistic and scientific trends. This was true not only of Reform Jews in Germany and America but even of the more traditionally minded. The scientific spirit was manifested in the critical study of Jewish history and literature ...

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pp. 239-252

This book was begun as a purely scientific inquiry into the beliefs of an earlier age. But as the study progressed, I became more and more aware that the issues involved are still current. Our world is not only wrestling with the problems treated herein, but is increasingly turning back to the old solutions of these ...


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pp. 253-262


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pp. 263-290


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pp. 291-295

E-ISBN-13: 9780827610477
Print-ISBN-13: 9780827607972

Publication Year: 2006