Angel



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For other uses, see Angel (disambiguation).

"Angelology" redirects here. For the novel, see Angelology (novel).

Schutzengel (English: "Guardian Angel") by Bernhard Plockhorst depicts a guardian angel watching over two children

An angel is a supernatural being or spirit found in various religions and mythologies. In Zoroastrianism and Abrahamic religions they are often depicted as benevolent celestial beings who act as intermediaries between Heaven and Earth, or as guardian spirits or a guiding influence.[1][2] Other roles of angels include protecting and guiding human beings, and carrying out God's tasks.[3] The term "angel" has also been expanded to various notions of spirits found in many other religious traditions. The theological study of angels is known as "angelology".

In art, angels are often depicted with bird-like wings on their back, a halo, robes and various forms of glowing light.[4]



Contents

Etymology

Sculpture of Angel bearing Veronica's Veil by Cosimo Fancelli at Ponte Sant Angelo.

Three angels hosted by Abraham, Ludovico Carracci (1555–1619), Bologna, Pinacoteca Nazionale.

The word angel in English is a blend of Old English engel (with a hard g) and Old French angele.[5] Both derive from Late Latin angelus "messenger of God", which in turn was borrowed from Late Greek ἄγγελος ángelos. According to R. S. P. Beekes, ángelos itself may be "an Oriental loan, like ἄγγαρος ['Persian mounted courier']."[6] The word's earliest form is Mycenaean a-ke-ro attested in Linear B syllabic script.[7][8]

The ángelos is the default Septuagint's translation of the Biblical Hebrew term mal’ākh denoting simply "messenger" without specifying its nature. In the Latin Vulgate, however, the meaning becomes bifurcated: when mal’ākh or ángelos is supposed to denote a human messenger, words like nuntius or legatus are applied. If the word refers to some supernatural being, the word angelus appears. Such differentiation has been taken over by later vernacular translations of the Bible, early Christian and Jewish exegetes and eventually modern scholars.[9]

Judaism

Main article: Angels in Judaism

The oldest portion of the Bible, known as the Pentateuch, uses the (Hebrew) terms מלאך אלהים (mal'āk̠ 'ĕlōhîm; messenger of God), מלאך יהוה (mal'āk̠ YHWH; messenger of the Lord), בני אלהים (bənē 'ĕlōhîm; sons of God) and הקודשים (haqqôd̠əšîm; the holy ones) to refer to beings traditionally interpreted as angels. Later texts use other terms, such as העליונים (hā'elyônîm; the upper ones).

The term מלאך (mal'āk̠) is also used in other books of the Tanakh; a similar Arabic term, ملائكة (malā'ikah), is used in the Qur'an. Depending on the context, the Hebrew and Arabic words may refer to a human messenger or to a supernatural messenger. A human messenger might be a prophet or priest, such as Malachi, "my messenger"; the Greek superscription in the Septuagint translation states the Book of Malachi was written "by the hand of his messenger" ἀγγέλου angélu. Examples of a supernatural messenger[10] are the "Malak YHWH," who is either a messenger from God,[11] an aspect of God (such as the Logos),[12] or God himself as the messenger (the "theophanic angel.")[10][13]

Scholar Michael D. Coogan notes that it is only in the late books that the terms "come to mean the benevolent semi divine beings familiar from later mythology and art."[14] Daniel is the first biblical figure to refer to individual angels by name,[15] mentioning Gabriel (God's primary messenger) in Daniel 9:21 and Michael (the holy fighter) in Daniel 10:13. These angels are part of Daniel's apocalyptic visions and are an important part of all apocalyptic literature.[14] Coogan explains the development of this concept of angels: "In the postexilic period, with the development of explicit monotheism, these divine beings—the 'sons of God' who were members of the Divine Council—were in effect demoted to what are now known as 'angels', understood as beings created by God, but immortal and thus superior to humans."[14] This conception of angels is best understood in contrast to demons and is often thought to be "influenced by the ancient Persian religious tradition of Zoroastrianism, which viewed the world as a battleground between forces of good and forces of evil, between light and darkness."[14] One of these is hāšāṭān, a figure depicted in (among other places) the Book of Job.

Philo of Alexandria identifies the angel with the Logos inasmuch as the angel is the immaterial voice of God. The angel is something different from God Himself, but is conceived as God's instrument.[16]

In post-Biblical Judaism, certain angels took on particular significance and developed unique personalities and roles. Though these archangels were believed to rank among the heavenly host, no systematic hierarchy ever developed. Metatron is considered one of the highest of the angels in Merkabah and Kabbalist mysticism and often serves as a scribe; he is briefly mentioned in the Talmud[17] and figures prominently in Merkabah mystical texts. Michael, who serves as a warrior[18] and advocate for Israel (Daniel 10:13), is looked upon particularly fondly.[19] Gabriel is mentioned in the Book of Daniel (Daniel 8:15–17) and briefly in the Talmud,[20] as well as in many Merkabah mystical texts. There is no evidence in Judaism for the worship of angels, but there is evidence for the invocation and sometimes even conjuration of angels.[15]

Medieval Jewish philosopher Maimonides explained his view of angels in his Guide for the Perplexed II:4 and II

... This leads Aristotle in turn to the demonstrated fact that God, glory and majesty to Him, does not do things by direct contact. God burns things by means of fire; fire is moved by the motion of the sphere; the sphere is moved by means of a disembodied intellect, these intellects being the 'angels which are near to Him', through whose mediation the spheres [planets] move ... thus totally disembodied minds exist which emanate from God and are the intermediaries between God and all the bodies [objects] here in this world.
Guide for the Perplexed II:4, Maimonides

According to Kabalah, there are four worlds and our world is the last world: the world of action (Assiyah). Angels exist in the worlds above as a 'task' of God. They are an extension of God to produce effects in this world. After an angel has completed its task, it ceases to exist. The angel is in effect the task. This is derived from the book of Genesis when Abraham meets with three angels and Lot meets with two. The task of one of the angels was to inform Abraham of his coming child. The other two were to save Lot and to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.[15]

One of Melozzo's musician (seraphim) angels from the Basilica dei Santi Apostoli, now in the sacristy of St. Peter's Basilica

Jewish angelic hierarchy

Main article: Jewish angelic hierarchy

Maimonides, in his Yad ha-Chazakah: Yesodei ha-Torah, counts ten ranks of angels in the Jewish angelic hierarchy, beginning from the highest:

Rank

Angel

Notes

1

Chayot Ha Kodesh

See Ezekiel chs. 1 and 10

2

Ophanim

See Ezekiel chs. 1 and 10

3

Erelim

See Isaiah 33:7

4

Hashmallim

See Ezekiel 1:4

5

Seraphim

See Isaiah 6

6

Malakim

Messengers, angels

7

Elohim

"Godly beings"

8

Bene Elohim

"Sons of Godly beings"

9

Cherubim

See Talmud Hagigah 13b

10

Ishim

"manlike beings", see Genesis 18:2, Daniel 10:5

Individual angels

From the Jewish Encyclopedia, entry "angelology".[15]

  • Michael (translation: who is like God?), kindness of God*

  • Gabriel (archangel) (translation: the strength of God), performs acts of justice and power*

  • Raphael (translation: God Heals), God's healing force

  • Uriel (translation: God is my light), leads us to destiny

  • Samael (translation: the severity of God), angel of death—see also Malach HaMavet (translation: the angel of death)

  • Sandalphon (translation: bringing together), battles Samael and brings mankind together

  • Jophiel (translation: Beauty of God), expelled Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden holding a flaming sword and punishes those who transgress against God.

*These are the only two angels to be mentioned by name in the Hebrew Bible; the rest are from extra-biblical tradition.

Christianity

Main article: Christian angelic hierarchy

The Archangel Michael wears a late Roman military cloak and cuirass in this 17th-century depiction by Guido Reni

Later Christians inherited Jewish understandings of angels, which in turn may have been partly inherited from the Egyptians.[21] In the early stage, the Christian concept of an angel characterized the angel as a messenger of God. Later came identification of individual angelic messengers: Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, Uriel, and Lucifer. Then, in the space of little more than two centuries (from the 3rd to the 5th) the image of angels took on definite characteristics both in theology and in art.[22]

By the late 4th century, the Church Fathers agreed that there were different categories of angels, with appropriate missions and activities assigned to them. There was, however, some disagreement regarding the nature of angels. Some argued that angels had physical bodies,[23] while some maintained that they were entirely spiritual. Some theologians had proposed that angels were not divine but on the level of immaterial beings subordinate to the Trinity. The resolution of this Trinitarian dispute included the development of doctrine about angels.[24]

The angels are represented throughout the Christian Bible as spiritual beings intermediate between God and men: "You have made him [man] a little less than the angels ..." (Psalms 8:4-5). The Bible describes the function of angels as "messengers" but does not indicate when the creation of angels occurred.[25] Some Christians believe that angels are created beings, based on (Psalms 148:2-5; Colossians 1:16): "praise ye Him, all His angels: praise ye Him, all His hosts ... for He spoke and they were made. He commanded and they were created ...". The Fourth Lateran Council (1215) declared that the angels were created beings. The Council's decree Firmiter credimus (issued against the Albigenses) declared both that angels were created and that men were created after them. The First Vatican Council (1869) repeated this declaration in Dei Filius, the "Dogmatic constitution on the Catholic faith".

Thomas Aquinas (13th century) relates angels to Aristotle's metaphysics in his Summa contra Gentiles,[26] Summa Theologica,[27] and in De substantiis separatis,[28] a treatise on angelology. Although angels have greater knowledge than men, they are not omniscient, as Matthew 24:36 points out.[29]

Interaction with angels

An angel comforting Jesus, by Carl Heinrich Bloch, 1865–1890.

Forget not to show love unto strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.—Hebrews 13:2

The New Testament includes many interactions and conversations between angels and humans. For instance, three separate cases of angelic interaction deal with the births of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. In Luke 1:11, an angel appears to Zechariah to inform him that he will have a child despite his old age, thus proclaiming the birth of John the Baptist. In Luke 1:26 the Archangel Gabriel visits the Virgin Mary in the Annunciation to foretell the birth of Jesus Christ. Angels then proclaim the birth of Jesus in the Adoration of the shepherds in Luke 2:10.[30]

According to Matthew 4:11, after Jesus spent 40 days in the desert, "...the devil left him and, behold, angels came and ministered to him." In Luke 22:43 an angel comforts Jesus Christ during the Agony in the Garden.[31] In Matthew 28:5 an angel speaks at the empty tomb, following the Resurrection of Jesus and the rolling back of the stone by angels.[30]

In 1851 Pope Pius IX approved the Chaplet of Saint Michael based on the 1751 reported private revelation from archangel Michael to the Carmelite nun Antonia d'Astonac.[32] In a biography of Saint Gemma Galgani written by Venerable Germanus Ruoppolo, Galgani stated that she had spoken with her guardian angel.

Pope John Paul II emphasized the role of angels in Catholic teachings in his 1986 address titled "Angels Participate In History Of Salvation", in which he suggested that modern mentality should come to see the importance of angels.[33]

The New Church

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In the New Church, there is extensive information provided concerning angels and the spiritual world in which they dwell from many years of spiritual experiences recounted in the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg. All angels are in human form with a spiritual body, and are not just minds without form.[34] There are different orders of angels according to the three heavens,[35] and each angel dwells in one of innumerable societies of angels. Such a society of angels can appear as one angel as a whole.[36] All angels originate from the human race, and there is not one angel in heaven who first did not live in a material body.[37] Moreover, all children who die not only enter heaven but eventually become angels.[38] The life of angels is that of usefulness, and their functions are so many that they cannot be enumerated. However each angel will enter a service according to the use that they had performed in their earthly life.[39] Names of angels, such as Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, signify a particular angelic function rather than an individual being.[40] While living in one's body an individual has conjunction with heaven through the angels,[41] and with each person, there are at least two evil spirits and two angels.[42] Temptation or pains of conscience originates from a conflict between evil spirits and angels.[43] Due to man's sinful nature it is dangerous to have open direct communication with angels[44] and can only be seen when one's spiritual sight has been opened.[45] Thus from moment to moment angels attempt to lead each person to what is good tacitly using the person's own thoughts.[46]

Latter Day Saints

Temple statue of the Angel Moroni, Bern, Switzerland

Adherents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) view angels as the messengers of God. They are sent to mankind to deliver messages, minister to humanity, teach doctrines of salvation, call mankind to repentance, give priesthood keys, save individuals in perilous times, and guide humankind.[47]

Latter Day Saints believe that angels either are the spirits of humans who are deceased or who have yet to be born, or are humans who have been resurrected or translated and have physical bodies of flesh and bones,[48] and accordingly Joseph Smith taught that "there are no angels who minister to this earth but those that do belong or have belonged to it."[49] As such, Latter Day Saints also believe that Adam, the first man, was and is now the archangel Michael,[50][51][52] and that Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah.[48] Likewise the Angel Moroni first lived in a pre-Columbian American civilization as the 5th-century prophet-warrior named Moroni.

Joseph Smith, Jr. described his first angelic encounter thus:[53]

"While I was thus in the act of calling upon God, I discovered a light appearing in my room, which continued to increase until the room was lighter than at noonday, when immediately a personage appeared at my bedside, standing in the air, for his feet did not touch the floor.
He had on a loose robe of most exquisite whiteness. It was a whiteness beyond anything earthly I had ever seen; nor do I believe that any earthly thing could be made to appear so exceedingly white and brilliant ...
Not only was his robe exceedingly white, but his whole person was glorious beyond description, and his countenance truly like lightning. The room was exceedingly light, but not so very bright as immediately around his person. When I first looked upon him, I was afraid; but the fear soon left me."

Most angelic visitations in the early Latter Day Saint movement were witnessed by Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, who both claimed (prior to the establishment of the church in 1830) to have been visited by the prophet Moroni, John the Baptist, and the apostles Peter, James, and John. Later, after the dedication of the Kirtland Temple, Smith and Cowdery claimed to have been visited by Jesus, and subsequently by Moses, Elias, and Elijah.[54]

People who claimed to have received a visit by an angel include the other two of the Three Witnesses: David Whitmer and Martin Harris. Many other Latter Day Saints, both in the early and modern church, have claimed to have seen angels, though Smith posited that, except in extenuating circumstances such as the restoration, mortals teach mortals, spirits teach spirits, and resurrected beings teach other resurrected beings.[55]

Islam

Depiction of an angel in Shia

Main article: Islamic view of angels

Angels (Arabic: ملائكة , Malāʾikah) are mentioned many times in the Qur'an and Hadith. Islam is clear on the nature of angels in that they are messengers of God. They have no free will, and can do only what God orders them to do.[56] An example of a task they carry out is that of testing individuals by granting them abundant wealth and curing their illness.[57] Believing in angels is one of the six Articles of Faith in Islam.

Some examples of angels in Islam:

  • Jibrail: the archangel Gabriel (Jibra'il or Jibril) is an archangel who serves as a messenger from God.

  • Michael (archangel): or Mikail, the angel of nature.

  • Israfil (Arabic: إسرافيلtranslit.: Isrāfīl, Alternate Spelling: Israfel or Seraphim, Meaning: The Burning One [58] ), is the angel of the trumpet in Islam,[59] though unnamed in the Qur'an. Along with Mikhail, Jibrail and Izra'il, he is one of the four Islamic archangels.[58] Israfil will blow the trumpet from a holy rock in Jerusalem to announce the Day of Resurrection.[60] The trumpet is constantly poised at his lips, ready to be blown when God so orders.

  • Darda'il: the angels who travel in the earth searching out assemblies where people remember God's name.

  • Azrael is Azraa-eel عزرائيل or Izrail: the Angel of Death

  • Kiraman Katibin: the two angels who record a person's good and bad deeds.

  • Mu'aqqibat: a class of guardian angels who keep people from death until its decreed time.

  • Munkar and Nakir: the angels who test the faith of the dead in their graves. They ask the soul of the dead person questions. If the person fails the questions, the angels make the man suffer until the Day of Judgement. If the soul passes the questions, he will have a pleasant time in the grave until the Day of Judgement.

  • Ridwan: the angel in charge of maintaining Jannat or Paradise.

  • Maalik: the angel who keeps or guards hellfire.

  • Harut and Marut (Arabic: هاروت وماروت) are two angels mentioned in the second Surah of the Qur'an, who were sent down to test the people at Babel or Babylon by performing deeds of magic. (Sura Al-Baqara, verse 102.) The Qur'an indicates that although they warned the Babylonians not to imitate them or do as they were doing, some members of their audience failed to obey and became sorcerers, thus damning their own souls.

Bahá'í Faith

In his Book of Certitude Bahá'u'lláh, founder of the Bahá'í Faith, describes angels as people who "have consumed, with the fire of the love of God, all human traits and limitations", and have "clothed themselves" with angelic attributes and have become "endowed with the attributes of the spiritual". 'Abdu'l-Bahá describes angels as the "confirmations of God and His celestial powers" and as "blessed beings who have severed all ties with this nether world" and "been released from the chains of self", and "revealers of God's abounding grace". The Bahá'í writings also refer to the Concourse on High, an angelic host, and the Maid of Heaven of Bahá'u'lláh's vision.[61]

Neoplatonism

In the commentaries of Proclus (4th century, under Christian rule) on the Timaeus of Plato, Proclus uses the terminology of "angelic" (aggelikos) and "angel" (aggelos) in relation to metaphysical beings. According to Aristotle, just as there is a First Mover,[62] so, too, must there be spiritual secondary movers.[63]

Zoroastrianism

Main article: Zoroastrian angelology

In Zoroastrianism there are different angel-like figures. For example, each person has one guardian angel, called Fravashi. They patronize human beings and other creatures, and also manifest God's energy. The Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, although there is no direct reference to them conveying messages,[64] but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord", God); they initially appeared in an abstract fashion and then later became personalized, associated with diverse aspects of the divine creation.[65]

Sikhism

This section improperly uses one or more religious texts as primary sources without referring to secondary sources that critically analyze them. Please help improve this article by adding references to reliable secondary sources, with multiple points of view. (November 2010)

Azrael (as Azraa-eel) is named as the angel of death in the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy scripture and the final Guru of the Sikhs.[66]

In So Dar and Raag Asa Sat Guru Nanak mentions Chitragupta as the angel who record the deeds of men.[67][68]

Brahma Kumaris

The Brahma Kumaris uses the term "angel" to refer to a perfect, or complete state of the human being, which they believe can be attained through a connection with God.[69][70]

Theosophy

In the teachings of Theosophy, Devas are regarded as living either in the atmospheres of the planets of the solar system (Planetary Angels) or inside the Sun (Solar Angels) and they help to guide the operation of the processes of nature such as the process of evolution and the growth of plants; their appearance is reputedly like colored flames about the size of a human. It is believed by Theosophists that devas can be observed when the third eye is activated. Some (but not most) devas originally incarnated as human beings.[71]

It is believed by Theosophists that nature spirits, elementals (gnomes, undines, sylphs, and salamanders), and fairies can be also be observed when the third eye is activated.[72] It is maintained by Theosophists that these less evolutionarily developed beings have never been previously incarnated as humans; they are regarded as being on a separate line of spiritual evolution called the "deva evolution"; eventually, as their souls advance as they reincarnate, it is believed they will incarnate as devas.[73]

It is asserted by Theosophists that all of the above-mentioned beings possess etheric bodies that are composed of etheric matter, a type of matter finer and more pure that is composed of smaller particles than ordinary physical plane matter.[73]

Hermetic Qabalah

See also: Hermetic Qabalah

According to the Kabbalah as described by the Golden Dawn there are ten archangels, each commanding one of the choir of angels and corresponding to one of the Sephirot. It is similar to the Jewish angelic hierarchy.

Rank

Choir of Angels

Translation

Archangel

Sephirah

1

Hayot Ha Kodesh

Holy Living Ones

Metatron

Keter

2

Ophanim

Wheels

Raziel

Chokmah

3

Erelim

Brave ones[74]

Tzaphkiel

Binah

4

Hashmallim

Glowing ones, Amber ones[75]

Tzadkiel

Chesed

5

Seraphim

Burning Ones

Khamael

Gevurah

6

Malakim

Messengers, angels

Raphael

Tipheret

7

Elohim

Godly Beings

Uriel

Netzach

8

Bene Elohim

Sons of Elohim

Michael

Hod

9

Cherubim

[76]

Gabriel

Yesod

10

Ishim

Men (man-like beings, phonetically similar to "fires")

Sandalphon

Malkuth

Contemporary belief in angels

This section is outdated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (July 2014)

This section requires expansion. (July 2014)

Seal of Sant'Angelo (rione of Rome)

A 2002 study based on interviews with 350 people, mainly in the UK, who said they have had an experience of an angel, describes several types of such experiences: visions, sometimes with multiple witnesses present; auditions, e.g. to convey a warning; a sense of being touched, pushed, or lifted, typically to avert a dangerous situation; and pleasant fragrance, generally in the context of somebody's death. In the visual experiences, the angels described appear in various forms, either the "classical" one (human countenance with wings), in the form of extraordinarily beautiful or radiant human beings, or as beings of light.[77]

In the US, a 2008 survey by Baylor University's Institute for Studies of Religion, published by TIME magazine,[78][79] which polled 1,700 respondents, found that 55 percent of Americans, including one in five of those who say they are not religious, believe that they have been protected by a guardian angel during their life. An August 2007 Pew poll found that 68 percent of Americans believe that "angels and demons are active in the world",[80] and according to four different polls conducted in 2009, a greater percentage of Americans believe in angels (55%) than those who believe in global warming (36%).[81][82]

According to the Gallup Youth Survey, in a Teen Belief in the Supernatural poll in 1994, 76% of 508 teenagers (aged 13–17)believe in angels, In 1978, 64% of American young people believed in angels; in 1984, 69% of teenagers believed in angels; and by 1994, that number grew to 76%, while belief in other supernatural concepts, such as the Loch Ness monster and ESP, has declined. In 1992, 80% of 502 surveyed teenage girls believe in angels, and 81% of Catholic teens and 82% of regular church attendees harbored beliefs in angels.[83][84] According to another set of Gallup polls, designated towards all Americans, in 1994, 72% of Americans said they believed in angels, while in 2004, 78% of the surveyed Americans indicated belief in angels, with the percentage of Americans that did not believe in angels dropping from 15% to 10%, and the percentage of Americans that were "not sure" dropping from 13% to 11%.[85][86]

A 2008 survey of over 1000 Canadians found 67 percent believe in angels.[87]

Angels in art

Main article: Angels in art

12th-century icon of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel wearing the loros of the Imperial guards.

In an address during a General Audience of August 6, 1986, entitled "Angels participate in the history of salvation", Pope John Paul II explained that "[T]he angels have no 'body' (even if, in particular circumstances, they reveal themselves under visible forms because of their mission for the good of people)."[33] Angels are however often depicted in painting and sculpture as male humans. Christian art perhaps reflects the descriptions in Revelation 4:6–8 of the Four Living Creatures (Greek: τὰ τέσσαρα ζῷα) and the descriptions in the Hebrew Bible of cherubim and seraphim (the chayot in Ezekiel's Merkabah vision and the Seraphim of Isaiah). However, while cherubim and seraphim have wings in the Bible, no angel is mentioned as having wings.[88] The earliest known Christian image of an angel—in the Cubicolo dell'Annunziazione in the Catacomb of Priscilla (mid-3rd century)—is without wings. In that same period, representations of angels on sarcophagi, lamps and reliquaries also show them without wings,[89] as for example the angel in the Sacrifice of Isaac scene in the Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus (although the side view of the Sarcophagus shows winged angelic figures).

The earliest known representation of angels with wings is on the "Prince's Sarcophagus", discovered in the 1930s at Sarigüzel, near Istanbul, and attributed to the time of Theodosius I (379–395).[90] From that period on, Christian art has represented angels mostly with wings, as in the cycle of mosaics in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major (432–440).[91] Four- and six-winged angels, drawn from the higher grades of angels (especially cherubim and seraphim) and often showing only their faces and wings, are derived from Persian art and are usually shown only in heavenly contexts, as opposed to performing tasks on earth. They often appear in the pendentives of church domes or semi-domes. Prior to the Judeo-Christian tradition, in the Greek world the goddess Nike and the god Eros were also depicted in human-like form with wings.

Saint John Chrysostom explained the significance of angels' wings:

They manifest a nature's sublimity. That is why Gabriel is represented with wings. Not that angels have wings, but that you may know that they leave the heights and the most elevated dwelling to approach human nature. Accordingly, the wings attributed to these powers have no other meaning than to indicate the sublimity of their nature.[92]

Angels are typically depicted in Mormon art as having no wings based on a quote from Joseph Smith ("An angel of God never has wings").[93]

In terms of their clothing, angels, especially the Archangel Michael, were depicted as military-style agents of God and came to be shown wearing Late Antique military uniform. This uniform could be the normal military dress, with a tunic to about the knees, an armour breastplate and pteruges, but was often the specific dress of the bodyguard of the Byzantine Emperor, with a long tunic and the loros, the long gold and jewelled pallium restricted to the Imperial family and their closest guards. The basic military dress was shown in Western art into the Baroque period and beyond (see Reni picture above), and up to the present day in Eastern Orthodox icons. Other angels came to be conventionally depicted in long robes, and in the later Middle Ages they often wear the vestments of a deacon, a cope over a dalmatic; this costume was used especially for Gabriel in Annunciation scenes—for example the Annunciation in Washington by Jan van Eyck.

See also

References

  • The Free Dictionary [1] retrieved 1 September 2012

  • Angels and the New Race - Page 8, Geoffrey Hodson - 1998

  • Frederick Copleston, A History of Philosophy, Volume 1, Continuum, 2003, p. 460.

  • Coogan, Michael D. (2009). A Brief Introduction to the Old Testament. Oxford University Press.

  • "Angelology". The Jewish Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2012-07-30.

  • Copleston, Frederick Charles (2003). A history of philosophy, Volume 1. Continuum International Publishing Group, p. 460. ISBN 0-8264-6895-0

  • Sanhedrin 38b and Avodah Zerah 3b.

  • Aleksander R. Michalak, Angels as Warriors in Late Second Temple Jewish Literature, Tuebingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2012.

  • Hannah Darrell D., Michael and Christ: Michael Traditions and Angel Christology in Early Christianity, Tuebingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1999

  • cf. Sanhedrin 95b

  • Ann Ball, 2003 Encyclopedia of Catholic Devotions and Practices ISBN 0-87973-910-X page 123

  • Swedenborg, Emanuel. Heaven and Hell, 1758. Rotch Edition (revised). New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1907, in The Divine Revelation of the New Jerusalem (2012), n. 74.

  • Arcana Coelestia, n. 459.

  • Heaven and Hell, n. 51-53.

  • Heaven and Hell, n. 311

  • Heaven and Hell, n. 416

  • Heaven and Hell, n. 387-393.

  • Swedenborg, Emanuel. Heavenly Arcana (or Arcana Coelestia), 1749-58 (AC). Rotch Edition (revised). New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1907, in The Divine Revelation of the New Jerusalem (2012), n. 8192.3.

  • Heaven and Hell, n. 291-298.

  • Arcana Coelestia, n. 50, 697, 968.

  • Arcana Coelestia, n. 227.

  • Arcana Coelestia, n. 784.2.

  • Heaven and Hell, n. 76.

  • Arcana Coelestia, n. 5992.3.

  • "God's messengers, those individuals whom he sends (often from his personal presence in the eternal worlds), to deliver his messages (Luke 1:11–38); to minister to his children (Acts 10:1–8, Acts 10:30–32); to teach them the doctrines of salvation (Mosiah 3); to call them to repentance (Moro. 7:31); to give them priesthood and keys (D.&C. 13; 128:20–21); to save them in perilous circumstances (Nehemiah 3:29–31; Daniel 6:22); to guide them in the performance of his work (Genesis 24:7); to gather his elect in the last days (Matthew 24:31); to perform all needful things relative to his work (Moro. 7:29–33)—such messengers are called angels.".

  • "D&C 107:24". Scriptures.lds.org. 2012-02-21. Retrieved 2012-07-30.

  • "D&C 110". Scriptures.lds.org. 2012-02-21. Retrieved 2012-07-30.

  • Lewis, James R., Oliver, Evelyn Dorothy, Sisung Kelle S. (Editor) (1996), Angels A to Z, p. 224, Visible Ink Press, ISBN 0-7876-0652-9

  • "Israfil". Encyclopaedia. Britannica. Retrieved 20 November 2012.

  • Smith, Peter (2000). "angels". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. pp. 38–39. ISBN 1-85168-184-1.

  • Basava Journal, Volume 19. Basava Samiti, 1994 (Bangalore, India).

  • Peace & purity: the story of the Brahma Kumaris : a spiritual revolution By Liz Hodgkinson

  • Powell, A.E. The Solar System London:1930 The Theosophical Publishing House (A Complete Outline of the Theosophical Scheme of Evolution) See "Lifewave" chart (refer to index)

  • Emma Heathcote-James (2002): Seeing Angels. London: John Blake Publishing.

  • "Angel", The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia James Orr, editor, 1915 edition.

  • Proverbio (2007), pp. 81–89; cf. review in La Civiltà Cattolica, 3795–3796 (2–16 August 2008), pp. 327–328.

  • Proverbio (2007) p. 66.

  • Proverbio (2007), pp. 90–95

  • Proverbio (2007) p. 34.

  1. "History of the Church, 3:392". Institute.lds.org. Retrieved 2012-07-30.

Further reading

External links

Demon



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St. Anthony plagued by demons, engraving by Martin Schongauer in the 1480s.

A demon, daemon, or fiend is a supernatural, often malevolent being prevalent in religion, occultism, literature, fiction, mythology and folklore. The original Greek word daimon does not carry the negative connotation initially understood by implementation of the Koine δαιμόνιον (daimonion),[1] and later ascribed to any cognate words sharing the root.

In Ancient Near Eastern religions as well as in the Abrahamic traditions, including ancient and medieval Christian demonology, a demon is considered an unclean spirit, a fallen angel, or a spirit of unknown type which may cause demonic possession, calling for an exorcism. In Western occultism and Renaissance magic, which grew out of an amalgamation of Greco-Roman magic, Jewish demonology and Christian tradition,[2] a demon is a spiritual entity that may be conjured and controlled.



Contents

Etymology

Further information: Daemon (classical mythology), Agathodaemon, Cacodemon, Daimonic and Eudaimonia

Buer, the 10th spirit, who teaches "Moral and Natural Philosophy" (from a 1995 Mathers edition. Illustration by Louis Breton from Dictionnaire Infernal).

The Ancient Greek word δαίμων daimōn denotes a spirit or divine power, much like the Latin genius or numen. Daimōn most likely came from the Greek verb daiesthai (to divide, distribute).[3] The Greek conception of a daimōns notably appears in the works of Plato, where it describes the divine inspiration of Socrates. To distinguish the classical Greek concept from its later Christian interpretation, the former is anglicized as either daemon or daimon rather than demon.

The Greek terms do not have any connotations of evil or malevolence. In fact, εὐδαιμονία eudaimonia, (literally good-spiritedness) means happiness. By the early Roman Empire, cult statues were seen, by pagans and their Christian neighbors alike, as inhabited by the numinous presence of the gods: "Like pagans, Christians still sensed and saw the gods and their power, and as something, they had to assume, lay behind it, by an easy traditional shift of opinion they turned these pagan daimones into malevolent 'demons', the troupe of Satan..... Far into the Byzantine period Christians eyed their cities' old pagan statuary as a seat of the demons' presence. It was no longer beautiful, it was infested."[4] The term had first acquired its negative connotations in the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, which drew on the mythology of ancient Semitic religions. This was then inherited by the Koine text of the New Testament. The Western medieval and neo-medieval conception of a demon[5] derives seamlessly from the ambient popular culture of Late (Roman) Antiquity. The Hellenistic "daemon" eventually came to include many Semitic and Near Eastern gods as evaluated by Christianity.

The supposed existence of demons remains an important concept in many modern religions and occultist traditions. Demons are still feared largely due to their alleged power to possess living creatures. In the contemporary Western occultist tradition (perhaps epitomized by the work of Aleister Crowley), a demon (such as Choronzon, the Demon of the Abyss) is a useful metaphor for certain inner psychological processes (inner demons), though some may also regard it as an objectively real phenomenon. Some scholars[6] believe that large portions of the demonology (see Asmodai) of Judaism, a key influence on Christianity and Islam, originated from a later form of Zoroastrianism, and were transferred to Judaism during the Persian era.

Psychological archetype

The classic Japanese demon, an ogre-like creature which often has horns.

Psychologist Wilhelm Wundt remarked that "among the activities attributed by myths all over the world to demons, the harmful predominate, so that in popular belief bad demons are clearly older than good ones."[7] Sigmund Freud developed this idea and claimed that the concept of demons was derived from the important relation of the living to the dead: "The fact that demons are always regarded as the spirits of those who have died recently shows better than anything the influence of mourning on the origin of the belief in demons."[8]

M. Scott Peck, an American psychiatrist, wrote two books on the subject, People of the Lie: The Hope For Healing Human Evil[9] and Glimpses of the Devil: A Psychiatrist's Personal Accounts of Possession, Exorcism, and Redemption.[10] Peck describes in some detail several cases involving his patients. In People of the Lie he provides identifying characteristics of an evil person, whom he classified as having a character disorder. In Glimpses of the Devil Peck goes into significant detail describing how he became interested in exorcism in order to debunk the myth of possession by evil spirits – only to be convinced otherwise after encountering two cases which did not fit into any category known to psychology or psychiatry. Peck came to the conclusion that possession was a rare phenomenon related to evil, and that possessed people are not actually evil; rather, they are doing battle with the forces of evil.[11]

Although Peck's earlier work was met with widespread popular acceptance, his work on the topics of evil and possession has generated significant debate and derision. Much was made of his association with (and admiration for) the controversial Malachi Martin, a Roman Catholic priest and a former Jesuit, despite the fact that Peck consistently called Martin a liar and manipulator.[12][13] Richard Woods, a Roman Catholic priest and theologian, has claimed that Dr. Peck misdiagnosed patients based upon a lack of knowledge regarding dissociative identity disorder (formerly known as multiple personality disorder), and had apparently transgressed the boundaries of professional ethics by attempting to persuade his patients into accepting Christianity.[12] Father Woods admitted that he has never witnessed a genuine case of demonic possession in all his years.[14][15][16]

Ancient Near East

Mesopotamia

Human-headed winged bull, otherwise known as a Lamassu

According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, "In Chaldean mythology the seven evil deities were known as shedu, storm-demons, represented in ox-like form."[17] They were represented as winged bulls, derived from the colossal bulls used as protective jinn of royal palaces.[18]

From Chaldea, the term shedu traveled to the Israelites. The writers of the Tanach applied the word as a dialogism to Canaanite deities.

There are indications that demons in popular Hebrew mythology were believed to come from the nether world.[19] Various diseases and ailments were ascribed to them, particularly those affecting the brain and those of internal nature. Examples include the catalepsy, headache, epilepsy and nightmares. There also existed a demon of blindness, "Shabriri" (lit. "dazzling glare") who rested on uncovered water at night and blinded those who drank from it.[20]

Demons supposedly entered the body and caused the disease while overwhelming or "seizing" the victim. To cure such diseases, it was necessary to draw out the evil demons by certain incantations and talismanic performances, which the Essenes excelled at. Josephus, who spoke of demons as "spirits of the wicked which enter into men that are alive and kill them", but which could be driven out by a certain root,[21] witnessed such a performance in the presence of the Emperor Vespasian[22] and ascribed its origin to King Solomon. In mythology, there were few defences against Babylonian demons. The mythical mace Sharur had the power to slay demons such as Asag, a legendary gallu or edimmu of hideous strength.

Ancient Arabia

Pre-Islamic mythology did not differentiate between gods and demons. Jinn were considered divinities of inferior rank and had many human abilities, such as eating, drinking and procreating. While most jinn were considered peaceful and well-disposed towards humans, there also existed evil jinn who contrived to injure people.

Hebrew Bible

Lilith, by John Collier, 1892

Demons in the Hebrew Bible are of two classes: the se'irim ("hairy beings") [23] and the shedim.[citation needed] The se'irim, to which some Israelites offered sacrifices in the open fields, were satyr-like creatures, described as dancing in the wilderness (Isaiah 13:21, 34:14). "The Israelites also offered sacrifices to the shedim (Deut. xxxii. 17; Ps. cvi. 37)".[24]

Judaism

According to some rabbinic sources, demons were believed to be under the dominion of a king or chief, either Asmodai[25] or, in the older Haggadah, Samael ("the angel of death", also called the "chief of the devils"), who killed via poison. Occasionally a demon was called satan: "Stand not in the way of an ox when coming from the pasture, for Satan dances between his horns".[26]

Demonology never became an essential feature of Jewish theology.[citation needed] However, the existence of demons was never questioned by the Talmudists and late rabbis, nor did most of the medieval thinkers question their reality. Only rationalists like Maimonides and Abraham ibn Ezra explicitly denied their existence. Their point of view eventually became mainstream Jewish understanding.

Rabbinical demonology has three classes of demons, though they are scarcely separable one from another. There were the shedim, the mazziḳim ("harmers"), and the ruḥin ("spirits"). There were also lilin ("night spirits"), ṭelane ("shade", or "evening spirits"), ṭiharire ("midday spirits"), and ẓafrire ("morning spirits"), as well as the "demons that bring famine" and "such as cause storm and earthquake".[27][28]

Second Temple-period texts

Biblical interpretation

Demons are sometimes included into biblical interpretation. In the story of Passover, the Bible tells the story as "the Lord struck down all the firstborn in Egypt" (Exodus 12:21–29). In Jubilees, which is considered canonical only by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church as well as Bete Israel (Ethiopian Jews),[29] this same event is told slightly differently: "All the powers of [the demon] Mastema had been let loose to slay all the first-born in the land of Egypt...And the powers of the Lord did everything according as the Lord commanded them" (Jubilees 49:2–4).

In Genesis in the story of the flood, the author explains how God was noticing "how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways" (Genesis 6:12). In Jubilees the sins of man are attributed to "the unclean demons [who] began to lead astray the children of the sons of Noah, and to make to err and destroy them" (Jubilees 10:1). In Jubilees Mastema questions the loyalty of Abraham and tells God to "bid him offer him as a burnt offering on the altar, and Thou wilt see if he will do this command" (Jubilees 17:16). The discrepancy between the story in Jubilees and the story in Genesis 22 exists with the presence of Mastema. In Genesis, God tests the will of Abraham merely to determine whether he is a true follower, however; in Jubilees Mastema has an agenda behind promoting the sacrifice of Abraham’s son, "an even more demonic act than that of the Satan in Job."[30]

Apotropaic prayers

See also: Apotropaic magic

Throughout history, many cultures and religions have utilized apotropaic prayers and incantations to "defend the sons of light from the forces of darkness within the cosmic conflict in which they were locked".[31] The Jewish community in the Second Temple Period is a perfect example of using these religious and magical tools for the purpose of protection from demons.

Many choose to talk about His powers over wickedness as a tool for scaring away potential demons, because they believed that a "solemn proclamation of God’s power will protect the community and its members from attacks by demons".[32] The Qumran community during the Second Temple Period wrote this apotropaic prayer stating: "And, I the Sage, declare the grandeur of his radiance in order to frighten and terri[fy] all the spirits of the ravaging angels and the bastard spirits, demons, Liliths, owls" (Dead Sea Scrolls, "Songs of the Sage," Lines 4–5).

Rituals against evil

Some sacred rituals would be used for healing. One example of incantations used for healing can be seen in Tobit: "Then the angel said to him: Take out the entrails of the fish, and lay up his heart, and his gall, and his liver for thee: for these are necessary for useful medicines. And when he had done so, he roasted the flesh thereof, and they took it with them in the way: the rest they salted as much as might serve them, till they came to Rages the city of the Medes. Then Tobias asked the angel, and said to him: I beseech thee, brother Azarias, tell me what remedies are these things good for, which thou hast bid me keep of the fish? And the angel, answering, said to him: If thou put a little piece of its heart upon coals, the smoke thereof driveth away all kind of devils, either from man or from woman, so that they come no more to them" (Tobit 6:5–8). These practices, as opposed to other medical practices, were used because "resorting to doctors would be considered unacceptable, as this could be thought to encroach upon a divine prerogative".[33]

Other incantations were used to ward off other kinds of evil spirits: "For they who in such manner receive matrimony, as to shut out God from themselves, and from their mind, and to give themselves to their lust, as the horse and mule, which have not understanding, over them the devil hath power. But thou when thou shalt take her, go into the chamber, and for three days keep thyself continent from her, and give thyself to nothing else but to prayers with her" (Tobit 17–18). Also this way, if misfortune was not averted, people would be able to validate the horrors in the world with the knowledge that "sickness and other misfortunes experienced by people are ultimately the result of human wrongdoing and transgression".[34]

Demons under divine authority

Demons, despite being typically associated with evil, are often shown to be under divine control, and not acting of their own devices.[35] In the War Scrolls, Belial controls scores of demons, which are specifically allotted to him by God for the purpose of performing evil.[36] Belial, despite his malevolent disposition, is considered an angel, and therefore is of divine origin.[37]

A similar circumstance appears in Jubilees, where Mastema, an angel tasked with the tempting of mortals into sin and iniquity, requests that God give him a tenth of the spirits of the children of the watchers, demons, in order to aid the process.[38] These demons are passed into Mastema’s authority, where once again, an angel is in charge of demonic spirits.

God is shown sending a demon against Saul in 1 Samuel 16 and 18 in order to punish him for the failure to follow God’s instructions, showing God as having the power to use demons for his own purposes, putting the demon under divine authority.[39]

Watchers/Nephilim

The sources of demonic influence were thought to originate from the Watchers or Nephilim, who are first mentioned in Genesis 6 and are the focus of 1 Enoch Chapters 1–16, and also in Jubilees 10. The Nephilim were seen as the source of the sin and evil on earth because they are referenced in Genesis 6:4 before the story of the Flood.[40] In Genesis 6:5, God sees evil in the hearts of men. The passage states, “the wickedness of humankind on earth was great”, and that “Every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only continually evil” (Genesis 5). The mention of the Nephilim in the preceding sentence connects the spread of evil to the Nephilim. Enoch is a very similar story to Genesis 6:4–5, and provides further description of the story connecting the Nephilim to the corruption of humans. In Enoch, sin originates when angels descend from heaven and fornicate women, birthing giants as tall as 300 cubits. The giants and the angels’ departure of Heaven and mating with human women are also seen as the source of sorrow and sadness on Earth. The book of Enoch shows that these fallen angels can lead humans to sin through direct interaction or through providing forbidden knowledge. In Enoch, Semyaz leads the angels to mate with women. Angels mating with humans is against God’s commands and is a cursed action, resulting in the wrath of God coming upon Earth. Azazel indirectly influences humans to sin by teaching them divine knowledge not meant for humans. Asael brings down the “stolen mysteries” (Enoch 16:3). Asael gives the humans weapons, which they use to kill each other. Humans are also taught other sinful actions such as beautification techniques, alchemy, astrology and how to make medicine (considered forbidden knowledge at the time). Demons originate from the evil spirits of the giants that are cursed by God to wander the earth. These spirits are stated in Enoch to “corrupt, fall, be excited, and fall upon the earth, and cause sorrow” (Enoch 15:11).[41] The Book of Jubilees conveys that sin occurs when Cainan accidentally transcribes astrological knowledge used by the Watchers (Jubilees 8). This differs from Enoch in that it does not place blame on the Angels. However in Jubilees 10:4 the evil spirits of the Watchers are discussed as evil and still remain on earth to corrupt the humans. God binds only 90 percent of the Watchers and destroys them, leaving 10 percent to be ruled by Mastema. Because the evil in humans is great, only 10 percent would be needed to corrupt and lead humans astray. These spirits of the giants also referred to as “the bastards” in the Apotropaic prayer Songs of the Sage, which lists the names of demons the narrator hopes to expel.[42]

Belial

Curses of Belial (Dead Sea Scrolls, 394, 4Q286(4Q287, fr. 6)=4QBerakhot) In the Dead Sea Scrolls, there exists a fragment entitled “Curses of Belial” (4Q286(4Q287, fr. 6)=4QBerakhot). This fragment holds much rich language that reflects the sentiment shared between the Qumran towards Belial. In many ways this text shows how these people thought Belial influenced sin through the way they address him and speak of him. By addressing “Belial and all his guilty lot,” (4Q286:2) they make it clear that he is not only impious, but also guilty of sins. Informing this state of uncleanliness are both his “hostile” and “wicked design” (4Q286:3,4). Through this design, Belial poisons the thoughts of those who are not necessarily sinners. Thus a dualism is born from those inclined to be wicked and those who aren’t.[43] It is clear that Belial directly influences sin by the mention of “abominable plots” and “guilty inclination” (4Q286:8,9). These are both mechanisms by which Belial advances his evil agenda that the Qumran have exposed and are calling upon God to protect them from. There is a deep sense of fear that Belial will “establish in their heart their evil devices” (4Q286:11,12). This sense of fear is the stimulus for this prayer in the first place. Without the worry and potential of falling victim to Belial’s demonic sway, the Qumran people would never feel impelled to craft a curse. This very fact illuminates the power Belial was believed to hold over mortals, and the fact that sin proved to be a temptation that must stem from an impure origin.

In Jubilees 1:20, Belial’s appearance continues to support the notion that sin is a direct product of his influence. Moreover, Belial’s presence acts as a placeholder for all negative influences or those that would potentially interfere with God’s will and a pious existence. Similarly to the “gentiles…[who] cause them to sin against you” (Jubilees 1:19), Belial is associated with a force that drives one away from God. Coupled in this plea for protection against foreign rule, in this case the Egyptians, is a plea for protection from “the spirit of Belial” (Jubilees 1:19). Belial’s tendency is to “ensnare [you] from every path of righteousness” (Jubilees 1:19). This phrase is intentionally vague, allowing room for interpretation. Everyone, in one way or another, finds themselves straying from the path of righteousness and by pawning this transgression off on Belial, he becomes a scapegoat for all misguidance, no matter what the cause. By associating Belial with all sorts of misfortune and negative external influence, the Qumran people are henceforth allowed to be let off for the sins they commit.

Belial’s presence is found throughout the War Scrolls, located in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and is established as the force occupying the opposite end of the spectrum of God. In Col. I, verse 1, the very first line of the document, it is stated that “the first attack of the Sons of Light shall be undertaken against the forces of the Sons of Darkness, the army of Belial” (1Q33;1:1).[44] This dichotomy sheds light on the negative connotations that Belial held at the time.[45] Where God and his Sons of Light are forces that protect and promote piety, Belial and his Sons of Darkness cater to the opposite, instilling the desire to sin and encouraging destruction. This opposition is only reinforced later in the document; it continues to read that the “holy ones” will “strike a blow at wickedness,” ultimately resulting in the “annihilation of the Sons of Darkness” (1Q33:1:13). This epic battle between good and evil described in such abstract terms, however it is also applicable to everyday life and serves as a lens through which the Qumran see the world. Every day is the Sons of Light battle evil and call upon God to help them overcome evil in ways small and large.

Belial’s influence is not taken lightly. In Col. XI, verse 8, the text depicts God conquering the “hordes of Belial” (1Q33;11:8). This defeat is indicative of God’s power over Belial and his forces of temptation. However the fact that Belial is the leader of hordes is a testament to how persuasive he can be. If Belial was obviously an arbiter of wrongdoing and was blatantly in the wrong, he wouldn’t be able to amass an army. This fact serves as a warning message, reasserting God’s strength, while also making it extremely clear the breadth of Belial’s prowess. Belial’s “council is to condemn and convict,” so the Qumran feel strongly that their people are not only aware of his purpose, but also equipped to combat his influence (1Q33;13:11).

In the Damascus Document, Belial also makes a prominent appearance, being established as a source of evil and an origin of several types of sin. In Column 4, the first mention of Belial reads: “Belial shall be unleashed against Israel” (4Q266). This phrase is able to be interpreted myriad different ways. Belial is characterized in a wild and uncontrollable fashion, making him seem more dangerous and unpredictable. The notion of being unleashed is such that once he is free to roam; he is unstoppable and able to carry out his agenda uninhibited. The passage then goes to enumerate the “three nets” (4Q266;4:16) by which Belial captures his prey and forces them to sin. “Fornication…, riches…, [and] the profanation of the temple” (4Q266;4:17,18) make up the three nets. These three temptations were three agents by which people were driven to sin, so subsequently, the Qumran people crafted the nets of Belial to rationalize why these specific temptations were so toxic. Later in Column 5, Belial is mentioned again as one of “the removers of bound who led Israel astray” (4Q266;5:20). This statement is a clear display of Belial’s influence over man regarding sin. The passage goes on to state: “they preached rebellion against…God” (4Q266;5:21,22). Belial’s purpose is to undermine the teachings of God, and he achieves this by imparting his nets on humans, or the incentive to sin.[46]

Kabbalah

See also: Kabbalah

Some benevolent shedim were used in kabbalistic ceremonies (as with the golem of Rabbi Yehuda Loevy) and malevolent shedim (mazikin, from the root meaning "to damage") were often credited with possession. Similarly, a shed might inhabit an otherwise inanimate statue.

Christian demonology

Main articles: Christian demonology and Exorcism in Christianity

Death and the Miser (detail), a Hieronymus Bosch painting, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

In monotheistic religions, the deities of other religions are sometimes interpreted or created as demons.[47] The evolution of the Christian Devil and pentagram are examples of early rituals and images that showcase evil qualities, as seen by the Christian churches.

Since Early Christianity, demonology has developed from a simple acceptance of demons to a complex study that has grown from the original ideas taken from Jewish demonology and Christian scriptures. Christian demonology is studied in depth within the Roman Catholic Church,[48] although many other Christian churches affirm and discuss the existence of demons.[49][50]

Building upon the few references to daemons in the New Testament, especially the poetry of the Book of Revelation, Christian writers of apocrypha from the 2nd century onwards created a more complicated tapestry of beliefs about "demons" that was largely independent of Christian scripture.

The contemporary Roman Catholic Church unequivocally teaches that angels and demons are real beings rather than just symbolic devices. The Catholic Church has a cadre of officially sanctioned exorcists which perform many exorcisms each year. The exorcists of the Catholic Church teach that demons attack humans continually but that afflicted persons can be effectively healed and protected either by the formal rite of exorcism, authorized to be performed only by bishops and those they designate, or by prayers of deliverance, which any Christian can offer for themselves or others.[51]

At various times in Christian history, attempts have been made to classify demons according to various proposed demonic hierarchies.

In the Gospels, particularly the Gospel of Mark, Jesus cast out many demons from those afflicted with various ailments. He also lent this power to some of his disciples (Luke 10:17).

Apuleius, by Augustine of Hippo, is ambiguous as to whether daemons had become 'demonized' by the early 5th century:

He [Apulieus] also states that the blessed are called in Greek eudaimones, because they are good souls, that is to say, good demons, confirming his opinion that the souls of men are demons.[52]

Ceremonial magic

While some people fear demons, or attempt to exorcise them, others willfully attempt to summon them for knowledge, assistance, or power. The ceremonial magician usually consults a grimoire, which gives the names and abilities of demons as well as detailed instructions for conjuring and controlling them. Grimoires aren't limited to demons - some give the names of angels or spirits which can be called, a process called theurgy. The use of ceremonial magic to call demons is also known as goetia, the name taken from a section within the famous grimoire "The Lesser Key of Solomon".[53]

Wicca

According to Rosemary Ellen Guiley, "Demons are not courted or worshipped in contemporary Wicca and Paganism. The existence of negative energies is acknowledged."[54]

Islam

The Majlis al Jinn cave in Oman, literally "Meeting place of the Jinn".

See also: Devil (Islam) and Jinn § Jinn in Islam

Islam recognizes the existence of jinn, which are sentient beings with free will that can co-exist with humans (though not the genies of modern lore). In Islam, evil jinn are referred to as the shayātīn or demons/devils, with Iblis (Satan) as their chief. Iblis was one of the first jinn; he disobeyed Allah and did not bow down before Adam refusing to acknowledge a creature made of "clay". Thus, Iblis was condemned to jahannam (hell). He asked for respite until the Last Day (Judgement Day), when he vowed to make mankind fall and deny the existence of their creator, to which Allah replied that Iblis would only be able to mislead those who were not righteous believers, warning that Iblis and all who followed him in evil would be punished in Hell.

Hinduism

Hinduism includes numerous varieties of spirits that might be classified as demons, including Vetalas, Bhutas and Pishachas. Rakshasas and Asuras are often also taken as demons.

Asuras

The Army of Super Creatures – from The Sougandhika Parinaya Manuscript (1821 CE)

Originally, Asura, in the earliest hymns of the Rig Veda, meant any supernatural spirit, either good or bad. Since the /s/ of the Indic linguistic branch is cognate with the /h/ of the Early Iranian languages, the word Asura, representing a category of celestial beings, became the word Ahura (Mazda), the Supreme God of the monotheistic Zoroastrians. Ancient Hinduism tells that Devas (also called suras) and Asuras are half-brothers, sons of the same father Kasyapa; although some of the Devas, such as Varuna, are also called Asuras. Later, during Puranic age, Asura and Rakshasa came to exclusively mean any of a race of anthropomorphic, powerful, possibly evil beings. Daitya (lit. sons of the mother "Diti"), Rakshasa (lit. from "harm to be guarded against"), and Asura are incorrectly translated into English as "demon".

In Hindu mythology, pious, highly enlightened Asuras, such as Prahlada and Vibheeshana, are not uncommon. The Asura are not fundamentally against the gods, nor do they tempt humans to fall. This is markedly different from the traditional Western notions of demons as a rival army of God but comparable with the concept of the jinns in Islam.[contradiction] Many people metaphorically interpret the Asura as manifestations of the ignoble passions in the human mind and as a symbolic devices. There were also cases of power-hungry Asuras challenging various aspects of the Gods, but only to be defeated eventually and seek forgiveness—see Surapadman and Narakasura.

Evil spirits

Hinduism advocates the reincarnation and transmigration of souls according to one's karma. Souls (Atman) of the dead are adjudged by the Yama and are accorded various purging punishments before being reborn. Humans that have committed extraordinary wrongs are condemned to roam as lonely, often evil, spirits for a length of time before being reborn. Many kinds of such spirits (Vetalas, Pishachas, Bhūta) are recognized in the later Hindu texts. These beings, in a limited sense, can be called demons.

Bahá'í Faith

In the Bahá'í Faith, demons are not regarded as independent evil spirits as they are in some faiths. Rather, evil spirits described in various faiths' traditions, such as Satan, fallen angels, demons and jinns, are metaphors for the base character traits a human being may acquire and manifest when he turns away from God and follows his lower nature. Belief in the existence of ghosts and earthbound spirits is rejected and considered to be the product of superstition.[55]

See also

References

  • "Demon". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 12 April 2012.

  • Robin Lane Fox, Pagans and Christians 1989, p.137.

  • Boyce, 1987; Black and Rowley, 1987; Duchesne-Guillemin, 1988.

  • Freud (1950, 65), quoting Wundt (1906, 129).

  • Freud, S. (1950). Totem and Taboo. London:Routledge

  • Peck, M.S. (1983). People of the Lie: The Hope For Healing Human Evil

  • Peck, M.S. (2005). Glimpses of the Devil: A Psychiatrist's Personal Accounts of Possession, Exorcism, and Redemption.

  • The exorcist, an interview with M. Scott Peck by Rebecca Traister published in Salon

  • The devil you know, National Catholic Reporter, April 29, 2005, a commentary on Glimpses of the Devil by Richard Woods

  • Haarman, Susan (2005-10-25). "BustedHalo.com". BustedHalo.com. Retrieved 2014-03-12.

  • See Delitzsch, Assyrisches Handwörterbuch. pp. 60, 253, 261, 646; Jensen, Assyr.-Babyl. Mythen und Epen, 1900, p. 453; Archibald Sayce, l.c. pp. 441, 450, 463; Lenormant, l.c. pp. 48–51.

  • Bellum Judaeorum vii. 6, § 3

  • "Antiquities" viii. 2, § 5

  • Targ. to Eccl. i. 13; Pes. 110a; Yer. Shek. 49b

  • Pes. 112b; compare B. Ḳ. 21a

  • (Targ. Yer. to Deuteronomy xxxii. 24 and Numbers vi. 24; Targ. to Cant. iii. 8, iv. 6; Eccl. ii. 5; Ps. xci. 5, 6.)

  • Moshe Berstein, Angels at the Aqedah: A Study in the Development of a Midrashic Motif, (Dead Sea Discoveries, 7, 2000), 267.

  • García, Martínez Florentino. The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated: The Qumran Texts in English. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1994. Print.

  • Florentino Martinez Garcia, Magic in the Dead Sea Scrolls: The Metamorphosis of Magic: From Late Antiquity to the Early Modern Period, compilers Jan Bremmer and Jan R. Veenstra (Leuven: Peeters, 2003), 13–23.

  • Loren Stuckenbruck, The Book of Tobit and the Problem of ‘Magic’ (Jüdische Schriften in ihrem Antik-jüdischen und Urchristlichen Kontext. 2002), 258–269.

  • Loren Stuckenbruck, The Book of Tobit and the Problem of ‘Magic’ (Jdische Schriften In Ihrem Antik-jdischen Und Urchristlichen Kontext. 2002), 258–269.

  • “Demon” in Britannica Concise Encyclopedia,

  • Dead Sea Scrolls 1QS III 20–25

  • Dale Basil Martin, “When did Angels Become Demons?” Journal of Biblical Literature (2010): 657–677.

  • Jubilees 10:7–9

  • SN Chiu, “Historical, Religious, and Medical Perspective of Possession Phonomenon” in Hong Kong Journal of Psychiatry, (East Asian Archives of Psychiatry, 2000).

  • Hanneken Henoch,, T. R. (2006). ANGELS AND DEMONS IN THE BOOK OF JUBILEES AND CONTEMPORARY APOCALYPSES. pp. 11–25.

  • VanderKam, James C. (1999). THE ANGEL STORY IN THE BOOK OF JUBILEES IN: Pseudepigraphic Perspectives : The Apocrypha And Pseudepigrapha In Light Of The Dead Sea Scrolls. pp. 151–170.

  • Vermes, Geza (2011). The complete Dead Sea scrolls in English. London: Penguin. p. 375.

  • Author=Frey, J. Title=DIFFERENT PATTERNS OF DUALISTIC THOUGHT IN THE QUMRAN LIBRARY IN: Legal Texts And Legal Issues, Year=1984, p. 287

  • Author=Nickelsburg, George. Title="Jewish Literature between the Bible and the Mishna." N.d. Digital file.

  • Author=Frey, J. Title=DIFFERENT PATTERNS OF DUALISTIC THOUGHT IN THE QUMRAN LIBRARY IN: Legal Texts And Legal Issues, Year=1984, p. 278

  • Author=Nickelsburg, George. Title="Jewish Literature between the Bible and the Mishna." N.d. Digital file, p. 147.

  • van der Toorn, Becking, van der Horst (1999), Dictionary of Deities and Demons in The Bible, Second Extensively Revised Edition, Entry: Demon, pp. 235-240, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, ISBN 0-8028-2491-9

  • Exorcism, Sancta Missa - Rituale Romanum, 1962, at sanctamissa.org, Copyright © 2007. Canons Regular of St. John Cantius

  • Hansen, Chadwick (1970), Witchcraft at Salem, p. 132, Signet Classics, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 69-15825

  • Modica, Terry Ann (1996), Overcoming The Power of The Occult, p. 31, Faith Publishing Company, ISBN 1-880033-24-0

  • A.E. Waite, The Book of Black Magic, (Weiser Books, 2004).

  • The Encyclopedia of Witches, Witchcraft and Wicca – page 95, Rosemary Guiley – 2008

  1. Smith, Peter (2008). An Introduction to the Baha'i Faith. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 112. ISBN 978-0-521-86251-6.

Citations

Further reading

  • Oppenheimer, Paul (1996). Evil and the Demonic: A New Theory of Monstrous Behavior. New York: New York University Press. ISBN 978-0-8147-6193-9.

Catholic
  • Baglio, Matt (2009). The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist. Doubleday Religion. ISBN 0385522703.

  • Amorth, Fr. Gabriele (1999). An Exorcist Tells His Story. Ignatius Press. ISBN 0898707102.

External links

Look up δαίμων in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Look up demon in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.