Book Talk: Angels in Ancient Jewish Culture with Mika Ahuvia, Associate Professor of Jewish Studies & Comparative Religion in conversation with author and journalist Sigal Samuel.
Thursday, October 14, 2021, 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time
Mika Ahuvia’s new book, “On My Right Michael, On My Left Gabriel: Angels in Ancient Jewish Culture,” examines a common element of ancient Jewish (and Christian) practice that is often overlooked or dismissed: belief in angels — the invisible, divine beings who serve as intermediaries, guardians and role models for humans.
In a conversation with author and journalist Sigal Samuel, Mika Ahuvia will explain how belief in angels extended humans’ experience of the divine past scriptures and synagogue walls, and how related practices — including prayers and magical invocations — illustrate the many ways in which people have practiced Judaism, Jewishness and religion throughout history.
Mika Ahuvia is Associate Professor of Jewish Studies, Comparative Religion and International Studies at the University of Washington. She researches the early history of Jewish and Christian communities in the ancient Mediterranean world, specializing in Late Antique Jewish history. She works with rabbinic sources, liturgical poetry, magical texts, early mystical literature, and archaeological evidence. Her new book, “On My Right Michael, On My Left Gabriel: Angels in Ancient Jewish Culture,” investigates conceptions of angels in foundational Jewish texts and ritual sources, and uncovers how angels made their way into the practices and worldview of ancient Jews.
Sigal Samuel is senior reporter for Vox’s Future Perfect project, and co-host of the Future Perfect podcast, and was previously the religion editor at The Atlantic. She is also the author of two books. “Osnat and Her Dove,” a children’s book, tells the true story of the world’s first female rabbi. “The Mystics of Mile End,” a novel, tells the story of a dysfunctional family dealing with mysticism, madness, and mathematics in Montreal. Sigal earned her M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of British Columbia and her B.A. in philosophy from McGill University.
This event is cosponsored by the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies and the Comparative Religion Program.