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Conversations with Angels: Essays Towards a History of by J. Raymond

By J. Raymond

In keeping with refractions of previous ideals, sleek angels - right now bad and comforting, frighteningly different and reassuringly beneficent - have received a strong symbolic price. This interdisciplinary research seems to be at how people conversed with angels in medieval and early sleek Europe, and the way they defined and represented those conversations.

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And Some Spirits (1659), a title that refuses the egalitarian ‘conference’ in favour of a scornful scepticism. 37 The relationship is not a simply hierarchical one: there is an element of kinship in these conferences. 38 The centuries under consideration by the chapters in this volume, then, witnessed a conversation with angels in at least the double sense outlined earlier. First, a form of material sociability, in which humans and angels expressed creaturely kinship through dialogue. 39 Secondly, a conversation about the nature of the world that took place using angels as ideas or thought experiments; the reality of angels offered the basis for reasoned explanation of natural and supernatural phenomena that resulted in knowledge.

Henry Mayr-Harting reminds us that ‘Christian prayer has generally been considered as a participation of men with angels in their heavenly worship.... Every prayer in the common of the Mass, not excluding the cry for mercy, is an angelic prayer.... [T]he whole mode of antiphonal singing ... 12 As Keck observes, monastic writers were acutely aware of acedia or spiritual torpor as an obstacle to joy and fervor in celebrating the liturgy. 13 We could say that, within the monastic context, angelology was a matter of orthopraxis as well as orthodoxy.

The daemon attempts to prove the existence of spirits via two sorts of reasoning, carefully deployed and labelled as such. The first argument is inductive and expands on Aquinas to maintain syllogistically that, if demoniacs, necromancers, and witches exist, then spirits necessarily exist. The second argument, deductive, proposes that nature is both complete and hierarchically graduated: since the Great Chain of Being exists, there must be a creature intermediate between humans and God. This variation of the dignitas hominis argument also fails to convince Tasso, and the daemon finally concedes that the only real proof that spirits exist is the corporeal copulation of witches and demons.

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