Talk of Angels and the normal assumption ranges from New Age Spirituality to Christian Iconography. Andrew Collins studies into Angles has been purely from a historical point of view. Firstly we have to clear up a few points. Angels in the Christian sense are a late invention, medieval artists evolved these chubby cherubim to add a dream like quality to their works. In the Bible the reality is different, in the Old Testament they appear briefly and are regarded as messengers, they walk with people, they eat and sleep and seem to have very few other worldly qualities. In the New Testament they hardly feature at all and then only as a term rather than a physical presence. Oddly enough it is in the Book of Enoch that our main reference to Angels appear. Enoch himself visits heaven and sees the Angels living there. We also hear of the fallen Angles, those who have left heaven and raised children by mortal women, these children are Nephilim, giant offspring that are neither one nor the other. Look for the Book of Enoch in the Bible and you wont find it today. The early church decided that the story of human interaction with Angels was not approved reading and since then the book has been considered heretical and against the grain of Christian teaching.
In his ground breaking book, From The Ashes of Angels, Andrew Collins explores the possibility that the stories in Enoch may have a basis in reality. Like most tales from the old Testament they are on the surface a mixture of long forgotten history, religious teaching, analogy and just good old story telling. When you change some of the terms though, you get a much more acceptable run of ideas. If the Heaven where the Angels live, which is described as being a mountain fortress were just a town peopled by a more advanced culture and Enoch went to visit them, maybe there is some truth in the idea. By advanced culture we are not talking about Von Danikens aliens here, but simply a branch of humanity who had developed more advanced technology earlier. We know that Egypt's early history seemed to have a helping hand from an unknown outside source in its Stone Age, if you study the Sumerians they seem to have arrived fully developed culturally from an as yet unknown source. Maybe the Angels that we are talking about here are merely part of that Elder Culture for which we have little hard evidence as yet.
If there was a more advanced group living in the mountains above the plains dwellers that eventually became the biblical races, would not there advanced technologies of medicine and viticulture of metallurgy and farming all seem as if they were divine skills. It is interesting to know that the development of these technologies is known to have taken place in the Zagros Mountains, the region that these Angels were supposed to have dwelt, also the place where most people believe the Garden of Eden stories to have evolved. The modern day Kurds in the region still have religious beliefs rooted in Angel worship, a remnant of this original culture perhaps.
Perhaps these Angels, for want of a better name are the branch of mans family tree that helps to explain what kick started the ancient cultures of the Near East. A nice thought and a fascinating and revealing book.