Michael PATELLA, OSB.
Angels and Demons: A Christian Primer of the Spiritual World.
Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2012. pp. 160. $18.95. ISBN: 978-0-8146-3277-2.
Jonathan J. YEGGE, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, BE. St. Francis College, 180 Remsen St., Brooklyn, NY, 11201.
As an incredibly brief work on a vast topic, Patella provides a concise clarification of the realm of angels and demons in the temporal world from a decidedly Catholic and confessional standpoint. Patella attempts to confront the latest in Dan Brown popular fictions whilst continuing with a solid Catholic theology of angelology. This is followed by a concentrated account of the pseudepigraphic, hexagrameral and literary traditions of demonology. Finally, the author presents a brief analysis of contemporary forms of Satanism and demonology. While Patella provides a nuanced history of the development of angelology and demonology in the Jewish and Christian traditions, he avoids any dialogue or comparativity between orthodoxy and the various forms of occultism. As such, this work is strongly Catholic and confessional.
The book is laid out in three sections:
The author bursts some bubbles about the scriptural basis for much of the history of demonology. His contention is that there is not much there in the scriptural tradition.
Lays out the work of angels in the life of Christ, as well as later writings that develop on the hierarchies of angels particularly by pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite.
*The Diabolical World.
Perhaps the weakest section based solely on its brevity. Clearly the author is an expert on the subject of apocryphal and literary traditions regarding angels and demons. This may require another book entirely.
Angels and Demons would be most suitable for one sub-section of an undergraduate Catholic theology course which aims to clear up studentsí misconceptions about the more murky aspects of the spiritual world. As a corrective to the current misinformation about the spiritual world peddled in the popular media, this book is very welcome. However, and with no fault attributed to the author who resides in the Order of St. Benedict, this work is entirely confessionally Catholic and does not aim at any rapprochement with contemporary forms of occultism, paganism or satanism.
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