CHRISTIAN DEMONOLOGY is the study of demons from a Christian point of
view. It is primarily based on the
* 1 Development
* 1.1 Origins * 1.2 Number * 1.3 Characteristics * 1.4 Appearance
* 2.1 History
* 3 Sexuality * 4 Diabolical symbols * 5 Other views * 6 See also * 7 Literature * 8 References
In some Christian traditions, the deities of other religions are
interpreted or created as demons. The evolution of the Christian
According to the
Book of Enoch
And now, the giants, who are produced from the spirits (Angels) and flesh, shall be called evil spirits upon the earth, and on the earth shall be their dwelling. Evil spirits have proceeded from their bodies; because they are born from men and from the holy Watchers is their beginning and primal origin; they shall be evil spirits on earth, and evil spirits shall they be called. And the spirits of the giants afflict, oppress, destroy, attack, do battle, and work destruction on the earth, and cause trouble: they take no food, but nevertheless hunger and thirst, and cause offences. And these spirits shall rise up against the children of men and against the women, because they have proceeded from them. From the days of the slaughter and destruction and death of the giants, from the souls of whose flesh the spirits, having gone forth, shall destroy without incurring judgement. —I Enoch 15:8–12, 16:1 R.H. Charles
There are many demons in Christian demonology, many of which were added because some Christian theologians concluded that all pagan deities were demons.
Alfonso de Spina asserted that the number of demons was
133,316,666. This idea that one third of the angels turned into demons
seems to be due to an exegesis of the
Book of Revelation
Gregory of Nyssa
In Christian tradition, demons are evil angels (Revelation 12:7-9),
and have the same characteristics as their good angel counterparts:
spiritual , immutable and immortal . Demons are not omniscient , but
each one has a specific knowledge (sometimes on more than one
subject). Their power is limited to that which
Christian demonology states that the mission of the demons is to induce humans to sin , often by testing their faith in God. Christian tradition holds that temptations come from three sources: the world , the flesh, and the devil.
It is also believed that demons torment people during their life or through possession (Matthew 17:15-16), or simply by showing themselves before persons to frighten them, or by provoking visions that could induce people to sin or to be afraid.
Demons are also believed to try to tempt people into abandoning the
faith, commit heresy or apostasy , remain or turn themselves Pagan or
venerate "idols " (the Christian term for cult images ), and gain the
highest number of "Satans " or adversaries of God. (
Gospel of Luke
24 "When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ 25 When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 26 Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first." (Luke 11:24–26)(NIV )
Demons can take any desired appearance, even that of an "angel of
13. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading
as apostles of Christ. 14. And no wonder, for
Nevertheless, they were generally described as ugly and monstrous
beings by Christian demonologists. Many of these descriptions have
inspired famous painters like
Incubi and succubi are described as being beautiful in order to accomplish their mission of seduction .
The idea that demons have horns seems to have been taken from the
Book of Revelation
Concerning the weight of the demons, since the 17th century, people have affirmed that they were heavier than common humans.
Poets such as
Henry Boguet and some English demonologists of the same epoch asserted that witches and warlocks confessed (under torture ) that demons' bodies were icy. During the 17th century, this belief prevailed.
The incarnation of the demons has been a problem to Christian demonology and theology since early times. A very early form of incarnation of demons was the idea of demonic possession , trying to explain that a demon entered the body of a person with some purpose or simply to punish that one for some allegedly committed sin. But this soon acquired greater proportions, trying to explain how demons could seduce people to have sexual relationships with them or induce them to commit other sins. To Christian scholars, demons didn't always have to manifest themselves in a visible and possible tangible form. Sometimes it was through possession.
There are some Biblical mentions of the incarnation of demons, similar in result to possession as in invocation , in the New Testament, according to the Gospels of Matthew , Mark and Luke as they could be seen and heard, as well as banished.
Matthew 8:16 – When the evening had come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils : and he cast out the spirits with word, and healed all that were sick:
Mark 1:23–27 – And there was in their synagogue a man with an
unclean spirit ; and he cried out, Saying, Let alone; what have we to
do with thee, thou
Jesus of Nazareth
Matthew 8:28–33 – And when he
Other sources via incarnation (analogous to evocation )
Basil of Caesarea
Raoul Glaber , a monk of Saint-Léger, Belgium , seems to have been the first in writing about the visit of a demon of horrible aspect in his Historiarum sui temporis, Libri quinque (History of his Time in Five Books).
Augustine thought that demons often were imaginary, but sometimes
could enter human bodies, but later accepted the idea of the
materialization of demons.
Ambrogio de Vignati , disagreeing with other authors, asserted that demons, besides of not to have a material body could not create it, and all what they seemed to do was a mere hallucination provoked by them in the mind of those who had made a diabolical pact or were "victims" of a succubus or incubus , including the sexual act.
Further information: Sexuality in Christian demonology
Demons are generally considered sexless as they have no physical
bodies, but different kinds are generally associated with one gender
or another. Many theologians agreed that demons acted first as succubi
to collect sperm from men and then as incubi to put it into a woman's
vagina. But as many of them agreed also that demons' bodies were icy,
they reached the conclusion that the frozen sperm taken first from a
man could not have generative qualities.
Peter of Paluda and Martin of Arles among others supported the idea that demons could take sperm from dead men and impregnate women. Some demonologists thought that demons could take semen from dying or recently deceased men, and thus dead men should be buried as soon as possible to avoid it.
According to medieval grimoires , demons each have a diabolical signature or seal with which they sign diabolical pacts . These seals can also be used by a conjurer to summon and control the demons. The seals of a variety of demons are given in grimoires such as The Great Book of Saint Cyprian , Le Dragon Rouge and The Lesser Key of Solomon .
The pentagram , which has been used with various meanings in many
An inverted (upside-down) cross (particularly the crucifix ) has also
been considered a symbol of both the
Not all Christians believe that demons exist in the literal sense.
There is the view that the
Classification of demons
Demonologies from Christian and Occultist perspectives
De la démonomanie des sorciers , Jean Bodin *
* ^ 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,
* ^ 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
* ^ CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Demonology