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“The story of angels stretches all the way back to the opening sections of the Book of Genesis. There, God posts cherubs as sentries at the gates of the Garden of Eden, following Adam and Eve’s expulsion.
They take a more active role later in the same book, when three shadowy figures, sometimes referred to as men, other times as angels and even on occasion as God, appear to the elderly Abraham, sheltering from the noonday sun at Mamre, to tell him that his elderly wife, Sarah, is to have a much-wanted son.
And as if that revelation isn’t sufficient drama, Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, is subsequently entangled in Genesis in a life-and-death nighttime struggle at the ford on the river Jabbok, memorably recreated in 1940 by the British sculptor Jacob Epstein in an alabaster carving now in Tate Britain. Again, the visitor is variously described as a man, an angel or God.
If angel, he — or she — is nameless. It took many centuries for that to change in the Book of Daniel among others. A reflection on the trauma of the Babylonian exile (and by association of subsequent military defeats), it was written around 165 BCE and presents for the first time fleshed-out angels — the fierce Michael (“who-is-like-God”) and the virtuous Gabriel (“God-is-my-strength”), who together act as guardian to Israel in its hour of need.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"THE CAPTURE of the last territory controlled by the Islamic State on Saturday was far from a final victory over the movement, as U.S. commanders and diplomats were careful to emphasize."
"How a Gay Teen, an Internet Nazi, and a Late-Night Rendezvous Turned to Tragedy. When self-loathing meets the new age of online extremism."
"Benjamin Netanyahu ignored the intelligence operations of Beijing and Moscow for too long. Now, the Israeli government is finally paying attention, but it could be too late."
"Former Nick Jr. kids are now reckoning with this all-grown-up intrepid explorer, whose obstacles are a lot bigger than Swiper the Fox. And that is a hard pill to swallow."
"At the end of last week, the three-month Treasury bills' yield rose above the yield for 10-year Treasuries for the first time since 2007, prompting warnings that the U.S. is headed for recession later this year or in early 2020."
"A team of researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology attempted to answer some questions about voting with the help of artificial intelligence (AI)."
"The experts I spoke with all said that the internet had changed the way conspiracies spread, but conspiracies, both dangerous and petty, have always been with us."
"Pop culture today is obsessed with the battle between good and evil. Traditional folktales never were. What changed?"
"Trustful parents allow their children as much freedom as reasonably possible to make their own decisions. They trust their children’s instincts, judgments, and ability to learn from mistakes."
"Arugulagate. In 2007, Barack Obama was in Iowa, speaking as a presidential hopeful to a group of farmers who were worried about the stagnation of their crop prices while America’s grocery bills continued to rise."
"To say that information exists in and of itself is akin to speaking of spin without the top, of ripples without water, of a dance without the dancer, or of the Cheshire Cat’s grin without the cat."
"Ted Cruz replaces the Democrats’ muddled manifesto with a clear and unequivocal exploration of the hatred of Jews and its particular evils."