Internalizing the Watchers’ Deeds: Athenagoras and Tatian on the Psychological Influences of the Fallen Angels

Various passages in Athenagoras’s Plea for the Christians and Tatian’s Address to the Greeks—two writings replete with Greek philosophical and mythological materials—represent a retelling of the Enochic myth of the Watchers. The two authors not only present their versions of the myth, but first and foremost insert Greek philosophical terminologies and topics within their retelling of the story. One of the most significant is their use of Greek psychological concepts, especially of Stoic origin, in the investigation of the way the fallen angels act within the human souls. Demons are not only the agents of evil in the world, but also masters of the material world. They inspire human thoughts to love matter and to fashion art which induces material thoughts. Athenagoras and Tatian, therefore, re-create the myth of the watchers, internalize it, and confer on it a psychological analysis.