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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:53844
Doc. No:TL23798
Call number:‭3178985‬
Main Entry:John Christopher Poirier
Title & Author:The tongues of angels: The conceptual, sociological, and ideological dimensions of angelic languages in classical Jewish and Christian textsJohn Christopher Poirier
College:The Jewish Theological Seminary of America
Date:2005
Degree:D.H.L.
student score:2005
Page No:375
Abstract:The concept of angelic languages appears in a number of Jewish and Christian writings from the second century BCE until the Italian Renaissance. In some of these writings the angels speak Hebrew, while in others they speak an unearthly esoteric language. A number of questions arise from this: How did the view that angels speak an esoteric language develop and spread in the first place, especially in the apparent absence of such a view in the Hebrew Bible? Why did the view that angels speak an unearthly esoteric language make so little impact upon rabbinic Judaism before the fifth century CE, despite the existence of this view in indisputably Jewish apocalyptic writings? And why did the idea of Hebrew-speaking angels make so little impact on developing Christianity? This study discusses every Jewish and Christian source (including epigraphy) known to the author that fits into the period beginning with the writing of Jubilees (mid-second century BCE) and ending with the main redaction of the Babylonian Talmud (seventh century CE). Although it intends to collect and comment on these sources as an end in itself, it also pursues a particular problem that arises from their study: How are we to explain the rise of these two views, and how are we to explain their respective careers? In particular: How does one account for R. Yochanan's dictum (b. Sot. 33 a; b. Shab, 12b) that the angels, implicitly understood to speak Hebrew, do not understand Aramaic (a proposition that seems to be a matter of some rhetorical urgency)? This study suggests that R. Yochanan sought to proscribe extra-synagogal prayer, thereby placing all liturgical activity under the control of whatever group was running the synagogue, and that he also sought to exalt Hebrew as way of empowering the literati (i.e. the rabbis). At the same time, this study also recognizes that the tenability of these explanations lies more in their explanatory power than in their historical necessity—that is, that there is no way to get beyond their pairing as mutual possibilities to the question of which is the real (or more dominant) reason.
Subject:Philosophy, religion and theology; Angelic languages; Christian; Ideological; Jewish; Tongues; Religious history; 0320:Religious history
Added Entry:S. Schwartz
Added Entry:The Jewish Theological Seminary of America