Philadelphia Seminar on Christian Origins

an Interdisciplinary Humanities Seminar
in its twenty-fifth year under the auspices of
The University of Pennsylvania
Department of Religious Studies
Philadelphia PA

Topic for Year 25 (1987-1988):
"Principalities and Powers:
Demons and Angels in the World of Late Antiquity"

Topic Advisor: Martha Himmelfarb, Princeton University
Program Chair: David Frankfurter, Princeton University
Secretary: David Utz, University of Pennsylvania
Coordinator: Robert Kraft, University of Pennsylvania
Preparation of Minutes in 2000: Sarah L. Schwarz, University of Pennsylvania

At least since E. R. Dodds it has been noted that the air of the Greco-Roman world was so thick with intermediary beings that much of one's life consisted of steering a safe passage through them. Their arrivals, departures, presence (ominous or propitious), usefulness or harm, and general effects on humankind were closely monitored by both laymen and professionals. Now, when inscriptions and socio-economic histories play such a large part of Late Antique studies, students of the subject would do well do keep in mind the perception of at least one ancient participant: "We are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the supernatural forces of evil in the heavenly places." (Pauline Corpus, Ephesians 6.12)

"Some Bibliography on Angels and Demons in Late Antiquity"
Compiled by Sarah L. Schwarz, University of Pennsylvania

October 29, 1987

"Overview of the Study of Angels and Demons"
David Frankfurter, Princeton University

"The Roles of Michael the Archangel: With a New Text"
Robert Kraft, University of Pennsylvania
[A later form of this material is available.]

December 3, 1987

"The Presence of Angels in the Sabbath Liturgy at Qumran"
Carol Newsom, Emory University
[No record of this session has been preserved.]

February 4, 1988

"Some Observations about Paul and Intermediaries"
Alan Segal, Barnard College


March 10, 1988

"The Experience of Demons (and Angels) in 1 Enoch, Jubilees, and the Book of Tobit"
George Nickelsburg, University of Iowa

"The Influence of Genesis 6.1-4 on Demonology"
Elaine Pagels, Princeton University

"Powers, Watchers, and Archangels: The Paradox of Manichaean Magic"
David A. Utz, University of Pennsylvania


April 7, 1988

"Christianization and the Transformation of Local Gods"
Frank Trombley, Dumbarton Oaks


May 5, 1988

"The Demons of Magic"
Morton Smith, Columbia University