“Anyone who seeks to destroy the passions instead of controlling them is trying to play the angel.” Voltaire
An angel is a supernatural spiritual being, often portrayed with wings, and can be found in many mythological stories and religions around the world.
In Judaism the term מלאך (mal’āk̠, messenger) is used in the Tanakh (the canon of the Hebrew Bible) and in Islam the term ملائكة (malā’ikah) is used in the Qur´an to refer to a messenger, whether he be human or supernatural. Only later on these terms became associated with just supernatural beings and are what we now refer to as angels.
In post-Biblical Judaism, angels developed unique personalities and roles and angels were ranked in a certain hierarchy. Beginning with the highest the ranks are: Chayot, Ophanim, Erelim, Hashmallim, Seraphim, Malakim, Elohim, Bene Elohim, Cherubim and Ishim. The angels mentioned are the following: Michael (kindness of God), Gabriel (strength of God), Raphael (God´s healing force), Uriel (leads people to their destiny), Samael (Angel of death), Sandalphon (brings mankind together), Jophiel (Beauty of God) and Metatron (God´s heavenly scribe). They are all archangels, meaning they are angels of high rank.
Later on Christians took over the identifications of angels from Judaism and considered them messengers of God. They saw them as spiritual beings, although there was some debate whether they had physical bodies or not.
Although belief in angels is primarily related to religion, it is also widespread among non-religious people. A survey held in the US in 2013 reveals that more than 80 percent of Christians believe in angels and 45 percent of Americans in general believe they exist.
- a spiritual being that serves especially as a messenger from God or as a guardian of human beings
- a person (such as a child) who is very good, kind, beautiful, etc. (source: Merriam Webster).
The English angel, Dutch engel, Spanish angel and Italian angelo come from Latin angelus, from Late Greek ἄγγελος, ángelos, messenger/envoy/one that announces, possibly related to ἄγγαρος, angaros, mounted courier. Both ángelos as angaros come are an unkown Oriental loanword.
Angel in other languages:
Spanish: el angel
Italian: l´angelo (m)