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Historic accounts of Angelic support in battle

Discussion in 'Christian History' started by Quid est Veritas?, May 29, 2020.

  1. Quid est Veritas?

    Quid est Veritas? In Memoriam to CS Lewis

    I would like to collect accounts of Angelic activities in and around wars and battles. There are a number that I am aware of, but I am sure there are others.

    Historians tend to dismiss these accounts, even if many of them are contemporary from named sources; or explain them away as hallucination from battle stress, embellishment or the like. I find this often implausible, so I think this might be a good example of a modern bias in our histories.

    The most recent I know of, is probably the Angel of Mons in WWI. While often said to be battle stress, or legend arising from a short story called the Bowmen, this seems unlikely to me. Firstly, we are dealing with the 19th century, and while the short story predates the first accounts of the event by a week or so, I think this is just coincidence: The story has spectral Bowmen and not angels; and also we are dealing with a single story in a paper, back before media could quickly spread. I am sure some accounts are cribbed from it, but I don't think it explains the Angel sighting as reported in later war memoirs or from veterans recounting it. It beggars belief that people think humanity would so readily embellish and then believe in it so thoroughly and universally. These were also not recruits, but veteran regiments. The lack of mention in the regimental records themselves I also find unremarkable - if I saw an Angel, I wouldn't write it in my report, as those officers above me would think I am batty. This is a well-known selection bias of expectation; and I am sure some soldiers failed to notice the event too, from the psychological phenomenon of inattentional blindness.

    Sufficed to say, I am fairly sure something happened there; and it was connected to Angels by many participants. There are numerous other examples, such as accounts of the 1st Crusade mentioning St George fighting with them in Syria (hence his post-Crusade popularity); or the Battle of Edgehill in the English Civil War, where contemporaries reported heavenly beings fighting. Suggestibility only goes so far.

    Even in my own country, the stern Calvinist Boers reported Angelic help during the battle of Blood River - something which does not particularly fit their theology either. I can't see how this could just have been yarns spun.

    What do we take from this though? Is this really divine favour, or some other phenomenon that we humans are merely connecting to it? After all, we have Roman accounts of Caster and Pollux appearing in battles there, and things like Valkyries or the Wild Hunt bear more than a passing resemblance. The 'let us just ignore all this mumbo-jumbo' or 'the old people were gullible, unlike us moderns' schools of thought seem blinkered, and calling it hallucinations should be a diagnosis of exclusion.

    Anyone know some more accounts I could look into, or a sober writer who has investigated these strange events? I am certain some theology was written around it too, so could someone point me to it?
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  2. Carl Emerson

    Carl Emerson Well-Known Member

    New Zealand
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  3. Quid est Veritas?

    Quid est Veritas? In Memoriam to CS Lewis

    Do you know of any specific accounts? I know it was a miraculous victory, but I was unaware of Angelic participation. Googling, I found bland statements like 'preachers said that angels were protecting artillery and infrantry positions'; or one account from a Geshon Salomon mentioning a vision of God and his Angels, though he seems to be a founder of an organisation seeking to rebuild the Temple, so I'd prefer a more dispassionate source or detailed one.