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The Angelic Way

 Blue Bridge Books, 2009, New York US
RRP $15.95

Reviewed by Bill Adams.

This is a very interesting and informative read, presenting a study of “angels through the ages and their meaning for us”.

I don’t know how many people nowadays are bursting with urgency to make a study of angels, as I expect most, like me, are somewhat agnostic in this area.

Angels seem to have been relegated to greeting cards and to some new age publications.

You probably sang about them in church last Sunday but you may not have even noticed.

But here is a serious study for those who want it.

Rami Shapiro is a rabbi, writer and educator, a teacher of Religious Studies at the tertiary level, as well as having his own congregation.

In this book he has researched widely and deeply, mainly in Hebrew, Christian and Islamic scriptures and traditions.

The result is a mine of information and some new insights into well known stories of angelic intervention in human experience.

At almost every point the closeness of angels to humans is clear and in some stories the appearance of visitors is often in human form in one part of the story and in mystical form in another.

Shapiro’s approach is interesting, one that I had not anticipated, as he considers angels from a religious point of view as well as historical, aesthetic and psychological.

He certainly believes in angels, that our understanding of them depends on our understanding of God and of the human psyche.

His conclusion is surprising and convincing.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is curious and wants to learn more about a subject that we now only come across in hymns.

His opening up of the Biblical passages is especially enlightening and will leave you on the positive side of agnostic rather than the negative.