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.
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