As the editors point out in their helpful introduction, angels' immateriality and benign nature make them elusive and incomprehensible to the modern mind, so that the devil not only “has the best lines” (p. 1), but he and his minions have also garnered a lion's share of popular fascination and academic attention. This volume, based on papers presented at a symposium at Bristol University, seeks to examine the role of both angels and devils, not only in the theology and orthodox piety of colonial Spanish America but also in local religiosity, where belief in their powers threatened to slip into “magic” or “superstition,” a hazard thought by church authorities to be especially great among the recently converted indigenous populations. The editors emphasize that despite a certain downplaying of these supernatural forces in Reformation and Catholic Reformation Europe, celestial spirits, be they benign...
Stuart B. Schwartz; Angels, Demons, and the New World. Hispanic American Historical Review 1 May 2014; 94 (2): 313–315. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00182168-2641352
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