Fortress Press

The Interpreting Angel Motif in Prophetic and Apocalyptic Literature

The Interpreting Angel Motif in Prophetic and Apocalyptic Literature

David P. Melvin (Author)

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Melvin traces the emergence and development of the motif of angelic interpretation of visions from late prophetic literature (Ezekiel 40–48; Zechariah 1–6) into early apocalyptic literature (1 Enoch 17–36; 72–82; Daniel 7–8). Examining how the historical and socio-political context of exilic and post-exilic Judaism and the broader religious and cultural environment shaped Jewish angelology in general, Melvin concludes that the motif of the interpreting angel served a particular function. Building upon the work of Susan Niditch, Melvin concludes that the interpreting angel motif served a polemical function in repudiating divination as a means of predicting the future, while at the same time elevating the authority of the visionary revelation. The literary effect is to reimagine God as an imperial monarch who rules and communicates through intermediaries—a reimagination that profoundly influenced subsequent Jewish and Christian tradition.
  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • ISBN 9781451465600
  • Format Paperback
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 208
  • Emerging Scholars category Bible
  • Publication Date August 1, 2013


"Melvin offers a solid piece of research in his volume, The Interpreting Angel Motif in Prophetic and Apocalyptic Literature. It will captivate the interest of scholars and students working in the areas of angelology, Israelite prophecy, wisdom literature, apocalyptic literature, and the broader area of Second Temple Judaism. For those working in these areas, it will be a welcome addition to the conversation."
—Archie T. Wright
Regent University

"This volume is the promising debut of a talented young scholar. Melvin offers an innovative analysis that opens new vistas in the study of the transition from prophecy to apocalyptic, from inner-biblical interpretation to later Jewish and Christian tradition."
Pamela Barmash
Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri


Review in The Bible Today