By J. Raymond
In keeping with refractions of prior ideals, glossy angels - without delay poor and comforting, frighteningly different and reassuringly beneficent - have obtained a strong symbolic worth. This interdisciplinary research appears to be like at how people conversed with angels in medieval and early smooth Europe, and the way they defined and represented those conversations.
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Extra info for Conversations with Angels: Essays Towards a History of Spiritual Communication, 1100–1700
Indeed, Bodin’s entire book situates itself between the two poles of angelic conversation: witches’ interactions with demons, and relations between God-fearing people and good angels. Most of the Démonomanie is devoted to describing and vilifying the former, epitomized by the case of Jeanne Harvillier, whose witchcraft trial Bodin witnessed in 1578, and took as the inspiration for his book. At the opposite pole of Bodin’s typology stands the relationship that he describes between a friend of his and a sort of guardian daemon, not strictly identifiable with the angels of Christian doctrine.
All who heard it, wondered at his answer, but he went on: ‘Why do you wonder at this? ’23 Caesarius’s failure to mention the presence of an exorcist is significant. The demonic interlocutor converses with the bystanders almost casually, as if he were one of them, with no evidence that he is being constrained Strategies of Interspecies Communication 31 by holy rituals. As this anecdote implies, one attraction of possession and exorcism – as of necromancy – was curiosity about demons, including the opportunity to verify official doctrine about them.
13 We could say that, within the monastic context, angelology was a matter of orthopraxis as well as orthodoxy. The monastic ideology of imitatio angelorum thus presumed that monks and nuns were surrounded by creatures with whom, willy-nilly, they had intimate and practically constant contact. When, around 1200, the discourse on angels and demons emerged from the monastery into the friary, the university, and the city, the assumption of an endless conversatio may have weakened as mundane human interactions increased.
Conversations with Angels: Essays Towards a History of Spiritual Communication, 1100–1700 by J. Raymond