Skip to main content

Evil Angels?

Really enjoying reading a brilliant article by the magisterial Dale Martin, like all good scholarship familiar texts are revealed to hold surprising and unsettling possibilities!

Angels populated Paul's world in a lively way. Contrary to modern popular assumptions, angels for Paul were not always good. They could be evil and malicious or simply morally ambiguous. There certainly are "good" angels in Paul's world (2 Cor 11:14; Gal 1:8; 4:14), and certainly also "bad" angels. 1 Corinthians 6:3 mentions that "we" (presumably Paul and other followers of Jesus) will "judge" angels, implying that there are angels who are criminal. If Paul's reference to the "thorn in the flesh" that tortures him is to an "angel of Satan" (2 Cor 12:7), which I take to be the case, and not just a metaphorical "messenger of Satan," we would have here a satanic angel as Paul's tormentor.

Some scholars believe that the phrase "because of the angels" in 1 Cor 11:10 is a reference to angels who may threaten women, perhaps sexually. Some scholars take Gal 3:19 to teach that angels were those who gave the law to Moses, rather than God himself. That text, if interpreted in light of Acts 7:53, may imply a less than benevolent, if not downright negative, view of their activity, given what Paul says about the intervention of the law elsewhere in Galatians. Finally, if one takes "the rulers of this age" in 1 Cor 2:6 and 8, who did not understand Gods mystery and therefore "crucified the lord of glory," to be a reference to angels (note that αρχαι are coupled with "angels" in Rom 8:38), this would certainly represent a reference to evil angels.

Dale B Martin, "When Did Angels Becomes Demons?" JBL 129, 2010, 657-77

Let me know what you think, :-)

Comments

  1. When is a messenger not a messenger? When they become an invisible (semi-?)autonomous power?

    ReplyDelete
  2. To be honest, the first two examples given - 1 Cor 11:10 and Gal 3:19 - don't bode well for the article as a whole in my mind. While I personally think a case can be made that the angels in 1 Cor 11:10 are fallen angels, I have found almost no scholars who support that view, as opposed to the "some" that Dale Martin asserts. Admittedly my resources are limited, but that assertion seems to lack care.

    Even more troubling is the attempt to make out that the angels in Gal 3:19 are fallen angels. The association of the angels with the negative effects of the Law completely misses the concept of a good Law discussed in Romans 7:7. Just because the Law produces death in wicked people does not make the Law itself bad, nor, by extension, the angels involved in it's delivery. The idea that God delivered his Holy Law through fallen angels is bizzare.

    So, the lack of care and weird conclusions in what you have quoted give me the impression of a thesis looking for something, anything to prop it up. Is it really worth the read?

    Having said that, here is my take on 1 Cor 11:10. You may accuse me of the same...

    http://kiwiandanemu.org/index.php/20-god-and-church/174-angels-watching-over-me-part-2

    ReplyDelete
  3. The above comment was by Alistair, not Paula.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Tim and Ali, nice to hear from you both!

    Tim, the rest of the article deals with just that question, this quote is more of an aside.

    Ali, re 1 Cor 11, Of course my blog post missed out the footnotes, which shouldn't be taken as evidence Alison's arguments are unsupported. Given the influence of 1 Enoch/ Book of Watchers on the NT it seems a very plausible suggestion to me. You are also misreading to say that Martin said the law was delivered by "fallen angels", things are a bit more subtle than that! Eitherway, while not someone you would always agree with as an evangelical, Ali, Martin is a top scholar whose arguments definitely are worth hearing.

    Pax.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

ANZABS 2018 program and abstracts

ANZABS CONFERENCE 2018
6-7 December, 2018


Venue: Wesley Hall, Trinity Methodist College,

202A St Johns Rd, Meadowbank, Auckland 1072

Thursday 6 December
9.30 am – REGISTRATION
10.00-10.10 – mihi
10.10-11.00 – Keynote speaker: Robert Myles – Fishing for Eyewitnesses in the Fourth Gospel
11.00-11.30 – Morning tea
11.30-12.00 – Lyndon Drake – Economic Capital in the Hebrew Bible
12.00-12.30 – Anne Aalbers – Resurrection and Celibacy: Two Sides of the Same Coin?
12.30-1.00 – Jonathan Robinson – "And he was with the beasts," (Mark 1:13): Ambiguity,
Interpretation and Mark as a Jewish Author
1.00-2.00 – Lunch
2.00-2.30 – Ben Hudson – Ethical Exhortation and the Decalogue in Ephesians
2.30-3.00 – Csilla Saysell – The Servant as 'a covenant of/for people' in Deutero-Isaiah
3.00-3.30 – Afternoon tea
3.30-4.00 – Jacqueline Lloyd – Did Jesus minister in Gaulanitis?
4.00-4.30 – Mark Keown – Jesus as the New Joshua
4.30 – AGM
Friday 7 December
9.30-10.00 – Ben Ong – Pākehā Readin…

Updated Current Research and Book Reviews

So, my PhD must be going well because I have just spent the morning updating my blog pages for Current Research and brand spanking new Book Reviews page. But it is not just procrastination, it is good to stop and and get an overview.

I had totally forgotten about half the book reviews I had done on this blog, they go back to 2009! I am still working on writing the sort of reviews I really enjoy reading, but now that I'm regularly doing reviews for journals it is great to also review books on this blog where I have stylistic freedom and no space limitations. I had always hoped this blog would be a good source of free books, but while it was a source of free books they were not good ones. Reviewing for journals (as a PhD student) has been much better and is helping me keep my broader education going even as I delve deep into my PhD subject. Looking at my old book reviews helps me realise how far I have come. Hopefully, much growth as a blogger, scholar and human being (perhaps not i…

Again, on Mark 2:23-28

I think this is different enough to the "solutions" shared earlier to be worth a post. I'm afraid I haven't had a chance to absorb it yet, been reading too much today, so I can't say if I think he is on to something or not, but do let me know what you think :-)


James M. Hamilton Jr. in "The Typology of David's Rise to Power: Messianic Patterns in the Book of Samuel" JSBT 16, 2012, 4-25, at p13 writes,

Considering the way that Jesus appeals to the Davidic type in Mark 2:23-28, Goppelt draws attention to the way that Jesus not only makes a connection between himself and David in Mark 2:25, he also links his disciples to “those who were with [David].”70 This would seem to invite Mark’s audience to make other connections between those involved in these two events. Much discussion has been generated by the fact that Mark 2:26 portrays Jesus referring to “the time of Abiathar the high priest,” when it appears that at the time, Ahimelech would have been the…