Wednesday, February 28, 2007

When Good Angels Go Bad

Poor Enoch. We saw in Friday's lecture that he was transformed into a glorious angelic being (2 Enoch 22) and carried away mankind's sins (65:4); in Jewish traditions he became Metatron, the Lesser Yahweh, no less.

In the modern novel, however, he seems to have become the villain of choice. Philip Pullman's excellent (and award winning) His Dark Materials trilogy presents him as a cosmic tyrant, symbolic of the intellectual oppression the author sees embodied in the Christian Church. The trilogy is available on Amazon:

More recently, Scottish author Hal Duncan has begun a series of books in which Metatron again plays a rather tyrannical role, coercing other angels into his service. I have only recently begun to read the book and my thoughts on it may change, but so far I have found it enjoyable and stimulating. It is best avoided by those who may be easily offended (Metatron's language is rather more colorful than the Jewish texts might suggest!), but those who can weather it will find a surprisingly erudite novel that weaves together Jewish and Sumerian mythology, modern fantasy and science fiction. The page is worth a visit as it contains a description of the book by the author himself.