Angels of Light?: Sanctity and the Discernment of Spirits in by Clare Copeland

By Clare Copeland

"And no wonder; for devil himself is remodeled into an angel of light." (2 Corinthians 11:14) Paul's caution of fake apostles and fake righteousness struck a unique chord within the interval of the ecu Reformations. At no different time was once the necessity for the discernment of spirits felt as strongly as during this newly confessional age. greater than ever, the power to figure was once a mark of holiness and failure the made of demonic temptation. The contributions to this quantity chart person responses to an issue on the center of non secular id. They exhibit that the matter of discernment was once now not completely a Catholic challenge and was once a topic for authors and artists up to for prophets and visionaries.

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Extra resources for Angels of Light?: Sanctity and the Discernment of Spirits in the Early Modern Period

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Annalium, 1:395–96. 26 Paracelsus, Opera omnia, 2:395–96. , Ernewerte Beschreibung der wolgedenckwirdigen Alten und warhafften wunderlichen Geschicht Vom Herren Petern von Stauffenberg, genant Diemringer aus der Ortenaw bey Rhein, Rittern: Was wunders ihme mit einer Meervein oder Meerfähe seye gegegnet. Darzu ein außführlicher Bericht und Vorred (Magdeburg, 1588); another edition was also published in Strasbourg in 1588. , 2 vols. (Berlin: G. Grote’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1876), 1:374–82. 1 Jean d’Arras.

61 The neo-scholastic Zanchi went further. He suggested that it was preferable to think that angels had rarefied bodies, as the Fathers had surmised, at least by comparison with the nature of God. However, it was permissible to think the opposite, and only God truly knew their substance, as John of Damascus had said. 62 Were “guardian angels” assigned to each individual person? The reformers showed more interest in this question than might have been expected. In the mid-1520s Luther wrote with some enthusiasm about angels intervening to protect the faithful and to guide them away from danger, though whether he envisaged an individu- 56 Bullinger, Fiftie Godlie and Learned Sermons, 733; compare Luther in WA, 42:17– 18; LW, 1:22–23; commentary on Genesis 1:6; also WA, 42:85; LW, 1:111–12, commentary on Genesis 2:17.

1 However, the belief-systems of the Middle Ages contained multiple interlocking layers of doctrine, with the result that “discerning” spirits acquired a secondary, didactic character. Typically, a pastoral theologian or more educated priest would claim to “discern” that an apparition previously thought to be benign or morally neutral might be, after all, an illusion or snare of the devil. , Jean Gerson’s treatise De Probatione Spirituum in Joannis Gersonii Doctoris Theologi & Cancellarii Parisiensis Opera Omnia, ed.

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