Even in the 21st century, then, angels matter. To many of us, perhaps, this can come as a surprise. Here in Britain, the ebbing of religious faith has combined with our insatiable taste for kitsch to desensitise us to the historic potency of angelology. Yet the ubiquity of angels in pop songs, on Christmas cards and in episodes of Dr Who tells its own story. “In our increasingly secular age, when the presence of angelic beings seems remote and unreal, angel imagery still holds an immense power of attraction.” So Valery Rees opens her new book, which aims to make sense of the dimension between heaven and earth, and to explain why so many people, for so long, have populated it with entire hosts of messengers. In pursuit of that goal, Rees flits across space and time with an aptly angelic facility. Ranging from ancient Sumeria to the novels of Philip Pullman, and from medieval scholasticism to Jungian theory, the breadth of her learning is formidable.

more from Tom Holland at The Guardian here.