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“On My Right Michael, On My Left Gabriel: Angels in Ancient Jewish Culture”

Hosted By: Jewish Studies at Fordham University

Angelic beings can be found throughout the Hebrew Bible, and by late antiquity, the archangels Michael and Gabriel were as familiar as the patriarchs and matriarchs, guardian angels were as present as one’s shadow, and praise of the seraphim was as sacred as the Shema. In this talk, Mika Ahuvia demonstrates that angels were foundational to ancient Judaism.

Ancient Jewish practice centered on humans’ complex relationships with these invisible beings who acted as their intermediaries, role-models, and guardians. Bringing non-canonical sources into view—incantation bowls, amulets, mystical texts, and liturgical poetry—Ahuvia shows that when ancient men and women sought access to divine aid, they turned not only to their rabbis, nor to God alone, but often also to the angels. Ahuvia’s forthcoming book, “On My Right Michael, On My Left Gabriel,” allows these overlooked stories, interactions, and rituals to take center stage, offering a new entry point to the history of Judaism and the wider ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern world in which it flourished.

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