In Hilchot Yesodei Hatorah 2:7 Rambam says:

שִׁנּוּי שְׁמוֹת הַמַּלְאָכִים עַל שֵׁם מַעֲלָתָם הוּא. וּלְפִיכָךְ נִקְרָאִים חַיּוֹת הַקֹּדֶשׁ וְהֵם לְמַעְלָה מִן הַכּל וְאוֹפַנִּים וְאֶרְאֶלִּים וְחַשְׁמַלִּים וּשְׂרָפִים וּמַלְאָכִים וֵאלֹהִים וּבְנֵי אֱלֹהִים וּכְרוּבִים וְאִישִׁים. כָּל אֵלּוּ עֲשָׂרָה הַשֵּׁמוֹת שֶׁנִּקְרְאוּ בָּהֶן הַמַּלְאָכִים עַל שֵׁם עֶשֶׂר מַעֲלוֹת שֶׁלָּהֶן הֵן, וּמַעֲלָה שֶׁאֵין לְמַעְלָה מִמֶּנָּה אֶלָּא מַעֲלַת הָאֵל בָּרוּךְ הוּא הִיא מַעֲלַת הַצּוּרָה שֶׁנִּקְרֵאת חַיּוֹת. לְפִיכָךְ נֶאֱמַר בַּנְּבוּאָה שֶׁהֵן תַּחַת כִּסֵּא הַכָּבוֹד. וּמַעֲלָה עֲשִׂירִית הִיא מַעֲלַת הַצּוּרָה שֶׁנִּקְרֵאת אִישִׁים וְהֵם הַמַּלְאָכִים הַמְדַבְּרִים עִם הַנְּבִיאִים וְנִרְאִים לָהֶם בְּמַרְאֵה הַנְּבוּאָה. לְפִיכָךְ נִקְרְאוּ אִישִׁים שֶׁמַּעֲלָתָם קְרוֹבָה לְמַעֲלַת דַּעַת בְּנֵי אָדָם:

The variation in the names of the angels is based upon their degrees; they are therefore called: Holy Living Creatures, which are above all others, Wheels, Valiant Ones, Electrum, Flying Serpent, Angels, Gods, Sons of Gods, Chariot Bearers, and Men. All these ten names by which the angels are called designate their respective ten degrees; the degree which has nothing higher than itself, save only the degree of God, blessed is He! is the degree of the form which is called Living Creatures; thus it is spoken of in prophecy as being beneath the Throne of Glory. And the tenth degree is the degree of the form known as Men, which are the angels who speak with the prophets and appear to them in the vision of prophecy. Therefore they are called Men, as their degree approaches the degree of the intellect of the sons of man.

After Rambam, many other sources echo this notion of ten categories of angels.

Are there any pre-Rambam sources to make this claim that their are ten types of angels?

(Please don't count Zohar as a pre Rambam source)


The Rambam's classification of angels is his own work. He does not draw on previous sources. I don't know how to prove a negative, except to say I have studied the matter in the past.

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  • Actually, many of Rambam’s ideas were influenced from Arab philosophers, as well as, the Greek pagan philosopher Aristotle. – Jonathan Feb 7 at 4:52

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