Hierarchy of angels
In the angelology of different religions, a hierarchy of angels is a ranking system of angels. Higher ranks have more power or authority over lower ranks, and different ranks have differences in appearance, such as varying numbers of wings or faces.
The Jewish angelic hierarchy is established in the Hebrew Bible, Talmud, Rabbinic literature, and traditional Jewish liturgy. They are categorized in different hierarchies proposed by various theologians. For example, Maimonides, in his Mishneh Torah or Yad ha-Chazakah: Yesodei ha-Torah, counts ten ranks of angels.
|1||Chayot Ha Kodesh||See Ezekiel 1 and Ezekiel 10|
|2||Ophanim||See Ezekiel 1 and Ezekiel 10|
|3||Erelim||See Isaiah 33:7|
|4||Hashmallim||See Ezekiel 1:4|
|5||Seraphim||See Isaiah 6|
|8||Bene Elohim||"Sons of God"|
|9||Cherubim||See Hagigah 13b|
|10||Ishim||"manlike beings", see Genesis 18:2 Daniel 10:5|
The most influential Catholic angelic hierarchy was that put forward by Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite in the 5th or 6th century in his book De Coelesti Hierarchia (On the Celestial Hierarchy). Dionysius described nine levels of spiritual beings which he grouped into three orders:
- Highest orders
- Middle orders
- Lowest orders
During the Middle Ages, various schemes were proposed, some drawing on and expanding on Pseudo-Dionysius, others suggesting completely different classifications.
Pseudo-Dionysius (On the Celestial Hierarchy) and Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologiae) drew on passages from the New Testament, specifically Ephesians 1:21 and Colossians 1:16, to develop a schema of three Hierarchies, Spheres or Triads of angels, with each Hierarchy containing three Orders or Choirs.
There is no standard hierarchical organization in Islam that parallels the Christian division into different "choirs" or spheres, and the topic is not directly addressed in the Quran. However, it is clear that there is a set order or hierarchy that exists between angels, defined by the assigned jobs and various tasks to which angels are commanded by God. Some scholars suggest that Islamic angels can be grouped into fourteen categories, with some of the higher orders being considered archangels. Qazwini describes an angelic hierarchy in his Aja'ib al-makhluqat with Ruh on the head of all angels, surrounded by the four archangelic cherubim. Below them are the seven angels of the seven heavens.
Fakhr al-Din al-Razi (d. 1209) divided the angels into eight groups, which shows some resemblance to Christian angelology:
- Hamalat al-'Arsh, those who carry the 'Arsh (Throne of God), comparable to the Christian Seraphim.
- Muqarrabun (Cherubim), who surround the throne of God, constantly praising God (tasbīḥ)
- Archangels, such as Jibrāʾīl, Mīkhā'īl, Isrāfīl, and 'Azrā'īl
- Angels of Heaven, such as Riḍwan.
- Angels of Hell, Mālik and Zabānīya
- Guardian angels, who are assigned to individuals to protect them
- The angels who record the actions of people
- Angels entrusted with the affairs of the world, like the angel of thunder.
There is an informal Zoroastrian angelic hierarchy, with the specific angelic beings called yazatas having key positions in the day-name dedications on the Zoroastrian calendar segregated into the ameshaspentas (the second to seventh of the 30 days of the month), yazatas and minoos (the last six of the 30 days of the month).
Angels are occasionally presented in role-playing games as having ordered hierarchies, within which higher level angels have more power and the ability to cast more spells or exercise other magical abilities. For example, Angels in Dungeons & Dragons, a subgroup of the beings called Celestials, come in three different types, the progressively more powerful Astral Deva, Planetar, and Solar. Another game which has summonable angels is Shin Megami Tensei, often classified under Divine, or Heralds. In the game series Bayonetta angels are enemies and all 3 spheres are present, each divided in the same 3 orders as the traditional hierarchy.
- Christian demonology
- De Coelesti Hierarchia
- Hierarchy of demons
- List of angels in theology
- Living creatures (Bible)
- Luminary (Gnosticism)
- ^ "Torah and Torts..." Retrieved Oct 8, 2014.
- ^ Chase, Steven (2002). Angelic spirituality. p. 264. ISBN 978-0-8091-3948-4.
- ^ McInerny, Ralph M. (1998). Selected writings of Thomas Aquinas. p. 841. ISBN 978-0-14-043632-7.
- ^ Pseudo-Dionysius, the Areopagite (1987). Pseudo-Dionysius : the complete works. Colm Luibhéid, Paul Rorem. New York: Paulist Press. pp. 161–173. ISBN 0-8091-0383-4. OCLC 15282383.
- ^ Mehdi Amin Razavi Aminrazavi, Seyyed Hossein Nasr The Islamic Intellectual Tradition in Persia Routledge, 16.12.2013 ISBN 9781136781124 p.17
- ^ Serdar, Murat. "Hıristiyanlık ve İslâm’da Meleklerin Varlık ve Kısımları." Bilimname 2009.2 (2009).
- ^ Quran 40:7
- ^ Jon Schindehette, Celestials, Angels, Devas: Dragon's-Eye View (January 9, 2013).
- ^ Christopher Perkins, Warriors of Heaven (TSR, 1999).