Andrei A. Orlov, professor of Judaism and Christianity in Antiquity at Marquette University, is a highly prolific author and world-renowned scholar who specializes in Christian origins, Jewish apocalypticism and mysticism, and Old Testament pseudepigrapha, including texts such as 2 Enoch and the Apocalypse of Abraham. Among Orlov's many writings are the books The Enoch-Metatron Tradition (TSAJ, 107; Tuebingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2005), From Apocalypticism to Merkabah Mysticism (SJSJ, 114; Leiden: Brill, 2007), Divine Manifestations in the Slavonic Pseudepigrapha (OJC, 2; Piscataway: Gorgias, 2009), and Concealed Writings: Jewish Mysticism in the Slavonic Pseudepigrapha (Flaviana; Moscow: Gesharim, 2011).
The present book under review, Dark Mirrors, is an engaging examination of the two most infamous characters of Second Temple Jewish demonology, the fallen angels Satan and Azazel. Although the two are frequently conflated, Orlov traces the development of each figure and their origins back to the stories of Adam and Eve in Eden and the rebellious angels who descend to earth at the time of Enoch (in the writings of 1 Enoch; see also Gen. 6). One of the major and most intriguing themes that Orlov focuses on in this writing is the paradoxical relationship, depicted by the authors of the ancient texts, that Satan and Azazel have with both deity and mankind. Orlov points out that in various texts, the antagonist is presented as having a "symmetrical correspondence" with the protagonist. In other words, the leader of the fallen angels is depicted as imitating the celestial order, positioning himself as a negative mirror image of the divine glory.