Demons of Change

Antagonism and Apotheosis in Jewish and Christian Apocalypticism

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Andrei A. Orlov
  • Albany: 
    State University of New York Press
    , December
     278 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Nathaniel J. Morehouse forthcoming.


Demonstrates how conflict between a human adept as the divine warrior and an otherworldly antagonist plays a key role in early Jewish and Christian apocalyptic accounts.

Antagonistic imagery has a striking presence in apocalyptic writings of Second Temple Judaism and early Christianity. In these visionary accounts, the role of the divine warrior fighting against demonic forces is often taken by a human adept, who becomes exalted and glorified as a result of his encounter with otherworldly antagonists, serving as a prerequisite for his final apotheosis. Demons of Change examines the meaning of these interactions for the transformations of the hero and antihero of early Jewish and Christian apocalyptic accounts. Andrei A. Orlov traces the roots of this trope to ancient Near Eastern traditions, paying special attention to the significance of conflict in the adept’s ascent and apotheosis and to the formative value of these developments for Jewish and Christian martyrological accounts. This antagonistic tension plays a critical role both for the exaltation of the protagonist and for the demotion of his opponent. Orlov treats the motif of the hero’s apotheosis in the midst of conflict in its full historical and interpretive complexity using a broad variety of Jewish sources, from the creational narratives of the Hebrew Bible to later Jewish mystical testimonies.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Andrei A. Orlov is professor of Judaism and Christianity in Antiquity at Marquette University. He is the author of The Greatest Mirror: Heavenly Counterparts in the Jewish PseudepigraphaDivine Scapegoats: Demonic Mimesis in Early Jewish Mysticism; and Dark Mirrors: Azazel and Satanael in Early Jewish Demonology, all published by SUNY Press.


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