Angelology is a branch of theology that deals with a hierarchical system of angels, messengers, celestial powers or emanations, and the study of these systems. It primarily relates to Judaism, whose system is kaballistic, and Christianity, where it is one of the ten major branches of theology, albeit a neglected one.
It is believed that Zoroastrianism had an influence on Jewish angelology, and therefore modern Christian angelology, due to the appearance of elements from Zoroastrianism in Judaism following Israel's extended contact with Persia while in exile in Babylon, such as Satan as a supreme head over the powers of evil, in contrast to God, comparing Satan to Angra Mainyu (also known as Ahriman) of Zoroastrian faith, who contrasted with Ahura Mazda, the supreme deity. Satan's title of "Prince of Darkness" may also have come from Zoroastrian faith. Angels appeared in Zoroastrianism as God's helpers, and their hierarchy is comparable to modern Angelology's hierarchy.
In contrast, some critics believe that it was Judaism and Christianity that had an influence on Zoroastrianism. They purport that similarities, such as those between Zoroaster and Jesus, and the incorporation of other motifs, were created by priests in an attempt to exalt Zoroaster, and deter those of Zoroastrian faith from converting to other faiths.
- "Encyclopedic Theosophical Glossary". Theosophical University Press. Retrieved 2006-03-17.
- J. Hampton Keathley, III, Th.M. "Angelology The Doctrine of Angels". Retrieved 2006-03-17.
- Jewish Encyclopedia. ""Zoroastrianism", section "Summary"". Retrieved 2006-03-15.
- Jewish Encyclopedia. ""The Babylonian Captivity"". Retrieved 2006-03-15.
- International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. ""Zoroastrianism", section 3 "Possible Theological Influence" and section 4, "Angelology and Demonology"". Retrieved 2006-03-15.
- Lewis Loflin. ""Judaism Meets Zoroastrianism"". Retrieved 2006-03-15.
- Jewish Encyclopedia. ""Zoroastrianism", section "The Kingdoms of Good and Evil"". Retrieved 2006-03-15.
- "New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Vol. XII: Trench - Zwingli, pages 530-531". Retrieved 2006-03-15.
- James Patrick Holding. ""Did Zoroastrianism Influence Christianity?"". Retrieved 2006-03-15.