Angels and Mankind

  • David Kiltz (Invited speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk


Angels and Mankind

Nature, Role and Function of Celestial Beings in Near Eastern and Islamic Traditions

Heavenly Geography (Uranography) in the Ancient Near/Middle East The talk will present major traits of the conception of the heavenly spheres in the Ancient Near and Middle East. It will focus especially on the three- and seven-fold concept of Heaven. For that purpose, mainly cuneiform literature will be examined and presented, ranging from the Etana (preserved in Middle- and Neo-Assyrian but probably dating back much further) to the Enūma Elīš. In addition, astronomical/astrological, ritual and similar texts and presentations will be considered. Furthermore, the various ‘inhabitants’ and other entities associated with these spheres will be introduced and discussed. Finally, a brief outlook on later traditions (2 Henoch, Roman/Hellenistic Antiquity, Christianity, Judaism and the Qur’ān) will be given. The heavenly spheres are inhabited by different ‘orders’ of Gods and other celestial beings. Associations with astronomical/astrological/meteorological phenomena are frequent, as are those with arcana and ‘divine’ knowledge. There are clear traits of (re)-interpretation towards later Antiquity and Late Antiquity, such as renaming ‘gods’ > ‘angels’ and re-shuffling of hierarchy or, indeed, the establishment of it. At the same time, there is a remarkable continuity in many basic concepts. This will be especially highlighted.
Period3 Jul 2015
Event titleAngels and Mankind
Event typeConference
LocationBeirut, LebanonShow on map


  • Ancient Near East, History of Religion, Angels