A theological paper that I am reading contains the following:
“… Thirdly, there are those creations, which have form but no shape. These are angels, which have no bodies, but whose form vary from angel to angel.”
What is the meaning of the words “form” and “shape” in this context?
English is not my native language. But my impression is that these two words are synonyms […]. Am I wrong?
You can’t depend on the ordinary/dictionary senses of words when reading theological works; you need to be familiar with the technical vocabulary used in that particular tradition. In this case, it’s more complicated, because if (as I suspect) you are quoting Maimonides then it is a question of how the translator rendered particular terms in the original Arabic and how those original terms are used in the tradition Maimonides was working in and expected his readers to be familiar with.
Kowalski confirmed that he was reading Maimonides, and I was hoping that someone more knowledgeable than I in the vocabulary of Judeo-Arabic medieval philosophy (that is to say, with any knowledge at all) would explain it, but that hasn’t happened so far, so I thought I’d repost the question here and see if anyone knows. (I did, after all, get some very helpful answers to my question about the phrase sub specie aeternitatis a couple of years ago.)