Top positive review
5 people found this helpful
a scholarly book
on 24 February 2013
Never thought I could read such a scholarly book with such pleasure and anticipation right to the end, and fast.
It moves between heaven and earth and through time and cultures, introducing or bringing to memory crowds of travellers,
winged or not, at a relaxed, enriching pace. Let us take a quick look at Azazel and the scapegoat sent alone to the desert by Aaron,another to the jinni, or genie, summoned by Aladdin's lamp : in both cases, lovely enlightening etymologies, questionings as to the messengers (angels?demons?)and the message (perhaps a half-way , a transiton, to take us from poly- to mono-theism?).
Now a leap to the supreme seraph in Isaiah's vision: "a powerful fiery angel of purification" ( we are in 739 BC ; by the way seraphim have 6 wings, yes, 6! and no s to seraphim as the im is already a plural); by contrast we also hear "the still small voice" as did Elijah (9th cent.BC) and which speaks from within all of us.
Add among countless other riches the humour and the personal voice of Valery Rees, you have a powerful cocktail.
A personal diamond for me is the idea, attributed to Baruch a disciple of Jeremiah, that the tree "which led Adam astray" in Eden was no apple but a grapevine, later replanted by Noah after the Deluge: as a Burgundian I love it, as does a South African acquaintance of mine from Constantia valley, one of the southern hemisphere's oldest wine-making regions; "the curse was turned to a blessing ... but those who abuse it risk eternal fire".