Saturday, December 16, 2006


Gabriel delivering the Annunciation. Painting by El Greco (1575)

An Archangel is a superior or higher-ranking angel. They are to be found in a number of religious traditions, including Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The word archangel derives from the Greek αρχαγγελος archangelos = αρχ- arch- ("first, primary") and αγγελος angelos ("messenger").

In Judaism
There are no explicit references to archangels in the canonical texts of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). Indeed even angels are uncommon except in later works like Daniel. The earliest references to archangels are in the literature of the intertestamental period (e.g. 4 Esdras 4.36).

It is therefore widely speculated that Jewish interest in angels was learned during the Babylonian exile. According to Rabbi Simeon ben Lakish of Tiberias (230–270 CE), all the specific names for the angels were brought back by the Jews from Babylon, and some modern commentators would argue that the details of the angelic hierarchy were largely Zoroastrian in origin.


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