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Angels: A History [Hardcover]

David Albert Jones
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
RRP: 10.99
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Book Description

25 Mar 2010
What are angels? Where were they first encountered? Can we distinguish angels from gods, faeries, ghosts, and aliens? And why do they remain so popular?

In this introduction to the history of angels, David Albert Jones outlines some of the more prominent stories and speculations about angels in Judaism, Islam, Christianity and post-Christian spiritualities. He reflects on the way angels are portrayed in art, whether as young men in the Hebrew Scriptures, androgynous winged creatures of the pre-Raphaelites, or the masculine statue of the Angel of the North. He also considers angels in films such as Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire, and Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life, as well as angels in literature.

From the idea of the angel as a messenger, through to the image of angels sent to protect and help those in need, this is an examination of the implications of angels. It asks why people find the idea of them so attractive, helpful or consoling, and why they remain so powerful in modern culture. In this thought-provoking introduction, Jones considers the view that reflecting on angels can teach us something about human existence. Whether or not we believe that they exist in their own right, angels can still illuminate our thoughts.

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Angels: A History + A Dictionary of Angels: Including the Fallen Angels
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 168 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (25 Mar 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199582955
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199582952
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 12.7 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 80,184 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


Those interested in angels and seeking an informative and readable introduction will find this book quite valuable. (Expository Times)

This is an interesting little book. (Expository Times)

Small but perfectly formed volume...everyone should have this book. (Peter Brookesmith, Fortean Times)

If anybody should know about angels, it's this guy... a very intelligent but very accessibly history. (Kate Saunders, BBC Radio 2)

A colourful and comprehensive overview of our fascination with angels. (Peter Stamford, The Independent)

As a guide to the celestial realms, I would put my faith in him any day. (Peter Stamford, The Independent)

This is a good book. (Stephen Cave, Financial Times)

The first stop for anyone seriously interested in angels. (Christopher Howse, The Telegraph)

About the Author

Professor David Jones is the Academic Director in the School of Theology, Philosophy, and History at St Mary's University College, Twickenham. He has written three previous books, including Approaching the End: a theological exploration of death and dying (OUP, 2007), The Soul of the Embryo: an enquiry into the status of the human embryo in the Christian tradition (Continuum, 2004), and An Introduction to the Catholic Faith (Family Publications, 1999).

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A useful primer 3 Sep 2011
Let's face it, we know very little about angels and much of what passes for angelology is built on speculation based on speculation founded on speculation and grounded in speculation. What little we do know is covered in this book and you should forget any other book on the subject if you want a general historical overview on the subject. Although written by a Christian the contents cover the monotheistic faiths and the role of angel-like beings in other faiths as well, and that was all very useful for me as to how to order, place and catalogue the various beings. In fact you will learn that each angel is its own species. Cheap and cheerful, concise and yet it covers the subject like a perfectly well fitting glove.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pithy little book 3 Feb 2012
By Erin B
I really enjoyed this book. It is small but has quite a lot of information in it. It is not sentimental, just factual. The references to angels abound in all sorts of places. It answers questions like: When did halos first get portrayed with angels?, When did angels stop being just male?, What are the implications of this?, What do the cherubim and seraphim look like?. It has been a pleasure to read.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Insight on Angels 27 July 2010
This is a superb book that covers a lot of ground in a short space. I read this on a return train journey from Exeter to Birmingham. If you want a quick overview that takes in some theology (mainly from the Judeo-Christian perspective) and some cultural references to representations of angels then this is well worth the spend. There are a few oversights of detail, for example, the author states that angels do not hold harps in the book of Revelation p.23. If you look at Revelation 5:8 you can see that the living creatures and the elders are holding harps. These are invariably refered to as angelic beings by theologians.
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