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Demons, Angels, and Writing in Ancient Judaism

Demons, Angels, and Writing in Ancient Judaism


  • Publication planned for: January 2020
  • availability: Not yet published - available from January 2020
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521119436

£ 90.00

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About the Authors
  • What did ancient Jews believe about demons and angels? This question has long been puzzling, not least because the Hebrew Bible says relatively little about such transmundane powers. In the centuries after the conquests of Alexander the Great, however, we find an explosion of explicit and systematic interest in, and detailed discussions of, demons and angels. In this book, Annette Yoshiko Reed considers the third century BCE as a critical moment for the beginnings of Jewish angelology and demonology. Drawing on early 'pseudepigrapha' and Aramaic Dead Sea Scrolls, she reconstructs the scribal settings in which transmundane powers became a topic of concerted Jewish interest. Reed also situates this development in relation to shifting ideas about scribes and writing across the Hellenistic Near East. Her book opens a window onto a forgotten era of Jewish literary creativity that nevertheless deeply shaped the discussion of angels and demons in Judaism and Christianity.

    • Explains the beginnings of angelology and demonology in relation to new understandings of ancient practices of writing and education
    • Introduces the reader to a rich array of fascinating but less familiar sources, which were influential but outside of what is now 'the Bible' - including apocalypses and 'magical' materials
    • Brings specialist research on ancient Jewish literature into conversation with Classics and the cultural history of ancient sciences
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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: January 2020
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521119436
    • dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
    • contains: 3 tables
    • availability: Not yet published - available from January 2020
  • Table of Contents

    1. Multiplicity, monotheism, and memory in Ancient Israel
    2. Rethinking scribalism and change in Second Temple Judaism
    3. Writing angels, astronomy, and Aramaic in the early Hellenistic age
    4. Textualizing demonology as Jewish knowledge and scribal expertise
    5. Rewriting angels, demons, and the ancestral archive of Jewish knowledge.

  • Author

    Annette Yoshiko Reed, New York University
    Annette Yoshiko Reed is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies and Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University. A scholar of Judaism and Christianity, she focuses on questions of identity and literary practice across Second Temple Judaism and Late Antiquity. Her research looks to non-canonical and other neglected sources to open new perspectives on ancient Jews and Christians. Her books include Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity (Cambridge, 2005) and Jewish-Christianity and the History of Judaism (2018), as well as a number of edited volumes.

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