Raziel

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This article is about the Judeo-Christian angel. For other uses, see Raziel (disambiguation).

Raziel (Hebrew: רזיאל‎ "Secret[s] of God") is an archangel within the teachings of Jewish mysticism (of the Kabbalah of Judaism) who is the "Keeper of Secrets" and the "Angel of Mysteries".[1] He is associated with the Sephira Chokmah (the second of ten) in Olam Briah, one of the Four Worlds of Kabbalistic theory.[2]

Mysticism and tradition[edit]

Various teachings assign Raziel to diverse roles, including that of a Cherub,[3] a member of the Ophanim,[4] and chief of the Erelim.[5]

Raziel, under the alternate name Galizur, ("Revealer of The Rock") is described as the "-ruling prince of the 2nd Heaven.-" He is said to expound the "Torah's divine wisdom," and protects the ministering angels from the Hayyoth, the "holy Creatures" that uphold the universe.[6][7]

Authorship of Sefer Raziel HaMalach[edit]

The famous Sefer Raziel HaMalach ("Book of Raziel the Angel") attributed to this figure is said to contain all secret knowledge, and is considered to be a book of magic. He stands close by God's throne, and therefore hears and writes down everything that is said and discussed.[3] He purportedly gave the book to Adam and Eve after they ate from the forbidden Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (for which resulted in their expulsion from the Garden of Eden) so the two could find their way back "home" and better understand their God. Raziel's fellow angels were deeply disturbed by this, and as such, stole the book from Adam and threw it into the ocean. God Himself decided not to punish Raziel, but instead retrieved the book by means of the angel Rahab and returned it to Adam and Eve.[2] Bertie considers this story - not attested in the Bible - to be a variant of the story of Prometheus in Greek mythology [8]

According to some sources, the book was passed on through the generations to Enoch (In 3 Enoch believed to have later become the angel Metatron), who may have incorporated his own writings into the tome. From Enoch, the archangel Raphael gave it to Noah, who used the wisdom within to build Noah's Ark.[9] The Book of Raziel was said to have come into the possession of King Solomon,[10] and a number of texts claiming to be this volume have recently appeared.

In fiction[edit]

Raziel is mentioned in The Mortal Instruments series of novels as having created the Shadowhunters (half-angel, half-human), by mixing his blood with mortals and having them drink the mixture from a divine cup. This cup, known as the Mortal Cup, is one of three items, collectively known as The Mortal Instruments. The other two are a sword and a mirror.[11] Also seen in Michele Lang's Lady Lazarus series of urban historical fantasy novels (Tor 2010)

Raziel is also a recurring character in Christopher Moore's novels, having been featured to a large degree in both Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal and is the titular character of The Stupidest Angel, in which his efforts to grant a child's Christmas wish go awry. Raziel, as may be gathered from the latter title, is portrayed as being of limited intellect. As his charge in Lamb implies, Raziel is too dim and his attention span too short to follow most verbal argument to the conclusion, so he can't be tricked with words, and he's too implacable to intentionally shirk his duty, making him the perfect watchman.

Raziel is a central character in Eidos Interactive's Legacy of Kain series of video games, the protagonist of the Soul Reaver story arc. Initially appearing in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, the character was created by a team of storywriters at Crystal Dynamics, notably series director Amy Hennig, and conceptualized by various Crystal Dynamics artists, with his in-game appearance directed and designed by Daniel Cabuco. In all of his English-language appearances, he has been voiced by Michael Bell. Portrayed as both an anti-hero and tragic hero, Raziel is a soul-devouring vampire-turned-wraith, introduced in Soul Reaver as one of six lieutenants raised to serve the series eponym and protagonist, Kain. Upon evolving beyond Kain by growing wings, Raziel is executed for his transgression, but is seemingly revived by The Elder God as a devourer of souls, bent on avenging himself by slaying his brothers and former master. Over the course of his journey, his history is revealed in reverse, and his motivations and loyalties gradually shift as he unearths the truth behind his cyclic destiny.

Raziel is also a key character in the young adult novel "Of Darkness and Light" by Lily Crussell. In this book Raziel meets and falls in love with a human girl, Nora, who is hunted and harassed by evil nephillim. After a sweet and romantic few chapters Raziel is stolen by Nora's attacker. Nora continues to be protected and comforted by Raziel's 'brother' Barachiel.

Raziel is also a central figure in the novel "Raziel's Shadow" by Joseph Robert Lewis. In this book, Raziel comes to earth to impart the secret of life, but is murdered by his own acolytes who unleash a demon horde upon the world. The story describes how a band of magi warriors attempt to defeat the demons and resurrect the angel Raziel.

The Lost Book of Raziel is also mentioned in the Kushiel series of books by Jacqueline Carey. This series also contains references to the angel Rahab.

In other media[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Davidson, Gustav (1967), A Dictionary of Angels, Including The Fallen Angels, Entry: Raziel, Free Press, pp. 242, 243, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 66-19757, ISBN 9780029070505
  2. ^ a b Lewis, James R., Oliver, Evelyn Dorothy, Sisung Kelle S. (Editor) (1996), Angels A to Z, Entry: Raziel, pp. 346, 347, Visible Ink Press, ISBN 0-7876-0652-9
  3. ^ a b "Archangel Raziel". Sarah's Archangels. Archived from the original on 5 July 2007. 
  4. ^ Scarborough, Samuel (2002), "The Tree of Life", Filing Cabinet of the Western Mystery Tradition and Methods to Recall the Information, Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition No. 3, Vol 1. Autumnal Equinox 2002
  5. ^ Angelic Lore at biblefacts.org (2004)
  6. ^ Davidson, Gustav (1967), A Dictionary of Angels, Including The Fallen Angels, Entry: Galizur, Free Press, p. 120, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 66-19757, ISBN 9780029070505
  7. ^ Hebrew Visions of Hell and Paradise (1893), Journal of The Royal Asiatic Society, London, The Royal asiatic Society, at sacred-texts.com
  8. ^ Peter Bertie, "The Transmutation of Myth, Ch. 5, P. 172, 178.
  9. ^ Ginzberg, Louis (1909), The Legends of the Jews, Volume 1, Chapter IV, at sacred-texts.com
  10. ^ Raziel, Book of at jewishencyclopedia.com
  11. ^ "The World of the Shadow Hunters". Retrieved 13 May 2011. 

External links[edit]