The Fall of Angels...

I’ve read Milton’s Paradise Lost ages and ages ago, and I’ve been wondering where most of the source material for the detailed story on the fall of angels comes from. There doesn’t seem to be a real narrative in the bible itself, only certain passages alluding to the event. Is there some extra-biblical source or perhaps something to be found in the apocrypha or pseudopygrapha referring to this matter? I’m just curious as to how Christian literature relates this story.

I’m thinking he took a bit of artistic liberty. It’s not the first time it’s happened, nor the last. Of course, I’m no Christian so I’m probably not the most reliable source of information :stuck_out_tongue:

Medieval scholars used to argue about angels a lot, as Cecil elaborates in one of his columns. The discussion seems to be going on at least a bit; in the eve of the Holy Year 2000, John Paul II issued some declarations that included certain rather new, more pacifist views on angels (looking for a cite, but couldn’t find one; I just found the issuel of a newmagazine where I read an article about that in 1999). The whole angel thing seems to have evolved over time; scholars argued about it, popes decreed dogmas about it. Where they got their ideas from is difficult to say; I guess they exercised the same kind of hair-raising (to us; to them it seemed plausible) logic they used to prove God’s existence and derived the nature of angels from statements given in the Bible.

Mind you, I’m sans cite, but I recall from my Catechism into Orthdoxy that the tradition of “the fall of angels” was inherited by Christians from Jews–part of the very large body of Jewish mystical thought.

If you’re using the Bible as your starting place, then the logic isn’t hair-raising at all, on either point. The statement “God created the Heavens and the Earth” pretty straightforwardly implies the statement “God exists”. Likewise, there are Biblical mentions of angels.

Trying to prove the existance of either without using the Bible, or trying to prove the verity of the Bible, is a completely different question, outside of the scope of GQ.

Hmm…From Cecil’s article, it seems Aquinas’s Summa Theologica is a good place for me to start. Glancing through a condensed version makes quite an interesting read on the supposed nature of angles and other theological questions, and does expound upon the fall, but not in any narrative detail. Certainly a fascinating read, and if anyone can find a source for such a narrative, I’d love to see it. I’ve just been re-reading Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, and I’ve read in the footnotes how he’s borrowed part of the Pilate story from the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus, and hence I’m looking for canonical and extra-canonical sources for the nature of the devil and evil. One of the thoughts that has me going is how in classic Christian theologic literature, the concept of “hierarchy” is considered divine and perfect. According to Aquinas, there is no order among demons as order belongs to good. I’m curious to read the “original” accounts of the fall while keeping this concept in mind.

You’ve got a point. What I was having in mind were the proofs for the existence of God that don’t use the Bible as starting place. This site gives an excerpt from the Summa Theologia work mentioned in the column, and those are the ones I consider hair-raising. Sorry for the misleading formulation.