Angels and Angelology in the Middle Ages by David Keck

By David Keck

Lately angels have made a outstanding comeback within the renowned mind's eye; their genuine heyday, notwithstanding, was once the center a long time. From the good shrines devoted to Michael the Archangel at Mont-St-Michel and Monte Garano to the flowery metaphysical speculations of the nice thirteenth-century scholastics, angels ruled the actual, temporal, and highbrow panorama of the medieval West.

This e-book bargains a full-scale examine of angels and angelology within the center a long time. trying to become aware of how and why angels grew to become so very important in medieval society, David Keck considers quite a lot of attention-grabbing questions corresponding to: Why do angels seem on baptismal fonts? How and why did angels turn into normative for yes contributors of the church? How did they develop into a required process examine? Did renowned ideals approximately angels diverge from the angelologies of the theologians? Why did a few heretics declare to derive their authority from heavenly spirits? Keck spreads his internet extensive within the try and trap lines of angels and angelic ideals in as many parts of the medieval global as attainable. Metaphysics and secret performs, prayers and pilgrimages, Cathars and cathedrals-all those and lots of extra disparate assets taken jointly display a society deeply engaged with angels on all its degrees and in a few not likely methods.

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Indeed, in 1271 the minister general of the Dominicans specifically requested his leading theologians to consider a number of questions in this area. For Aquinas, angels certainly moved the spheres (here he disagreed with Aristotle who believed that conjoined souls had such a responsibility), and the motions of the spheres and the sun's rays do produce life on earth. Hence, angels are involved in the processes of natural creation (here he disagreed with Albertus Magnus, who did not ascribe to angels the responsibility of heavenly motion even though he did ascribe such motion to intellectual, spiritual movers).

The theologians of the thirteenth century employed Aristotelian categories and terms to explore the natural "substance" of the angels. Thus they used the category of "matter," not corporeality, to explore the angelic 32 S C R I P T U R E , THE F O U N D A T I O N OF A N G E L O L O G Y nature. As will be discussed in chapter 5, Aquinas and most of the Dominicans agreed with Pseudo-Dionysius that angels are pure spirits, or forms, whereas Bonaventure and almost all of the Franciscans followed strict Aristotelian hylomorphism and argued that angels are made of both form and some kind of matter (albeit a spiritual matter).

30 For different reasons, the creative powers of angels, both glorified and wicked, remained a potent issue throughout the Middle Ages. The affirmation that God had created the angels raised several more questions. Where, if anywhere, did He create the angels? Are the spiritual angels subject to THE L E N G T H OF S C R I P T U R E I 23 time and change as physical bodies are? Did God create the evil angels? Why did they turn from God? Did time elapse between their creation and their fall? Why did the persevering angels not fall?

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