Picks and Pans Review: A Gathering of Angels: Angels in Jewish Life and Literature

updated 04/11/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/11/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Morris B. Margolies

Margolies, a rabbi and scholar of Jewish history at the University of Kansas, has no truck with the angels-are-a-gal's-best-friend set. In this incisive, thought-provoking tour of angelology from the Bible to Isaac Bashevis Singer, angels are a moral metaphor—every bit as demonic as they are benevolent. On top of being God's messengers, they represent conflicting impulses that coexist in all of us: kindness and cruelty, creativity and destruction. The challenge is to act responsibly. As Margolies, the author of such previous works as Ten Turning Points in Jewish History, points out, Satan was once an angel too. (Ballantine, $10)

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