Work in Progress

Rafael Capurro




1. Greek, Egyptian, and  Hebrew traditions
2. Arabic and Persian  traditions
3. Latin, Spanish and Latin American traditions
4. Australia, New Zealand and Polynesia traditions
5. Far East tradition
6. African tradition
7. German tradition
8. English tradition
9. French tradition






The term angeletics comes from Greek angelos / angelia, meaning messenger / messages. We use these terms when we refer to angels or divine messengers. There is a long tradition in theology and religious studies called angelology. Angeletics is in this regard different from angelology. Its purpose is to study the phenomenon of messages and messengers within the boundaries of the condition humaine, having as its primary object human communication but including technical and natural processes as well. For the philosophers of the Enlightenment, such as Immanuel Kant, the censorship-free distribution of scientific knowledge through the press belongs to the core of a free society. Peter Sloterdijk has pointed out that we live in a “time of empty angels” or “mediatic nihilism,” in which we forget what message is to be sent while the messengers of transmission media multiply: “This is the very disangelium of current times." [Kantilenen der Zeit, Lettre International 1997, 75]  The word disangelium (bad news) sets a contrast to euangelium, addressing the empty nature of the messages disseminated by the mass media, culminating in McLuhans dictum: “The medium is the message.” The question today is then to what extent the Internet creates a new angeletic space giving rise to new synergies of messages and messengers beyond the hierarchical structure of mass media.

There is a close relationship between angeletics and hermeneutics. Hermeneutics was one of the main schools of philosophy of the 20th century. Beyond scholarly disputes, we can say that one main result of 20th century philosophical thinking has been the awareness of the interpretative nature of human knowledge. This is valid, for instance, for Karl Popper, for whom scientific knowledge is basically conjectural and subject to empirical falsifications, no less than for hermeneutics as addressed by Hans-Georg Gadamer. Since interpretation presupposes message transmission the “hermeneutic circle” no less than the “logic of scientific discovery” is implicitly located within the angeletic circle. Hermes is first and foremost a messenger and only secondarily an interpreter and translator. Throughout this book angeletics is the general term we use for the cultural, social and philosophical phenomenon of messages and messengers and tend to employ ‘messaging theory’ specifically for the more scientific and technological aspects of the phenomenon of messaging.

Source: Rafael Capurro & John Holgate (eds.) Messages and Messengers - Angeletics as an Approach to the Phenomenology of Communication  Munich 2011: Introduction.


Copyright © 2018 by Rafael Capurro, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of U.S. and international copyright law, and it may be archived and redistributed in electronic form, provided that the author is notified and no fee is charged for access. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the consent of the author.

Back to Digital Library 
Homepage Research Activities
Publications Teaching Interviews