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A demon (from Koine Greek
Koine Greek
δαιμόνιον daimónion) is a supernatural and often malevolent being prevalent in religion, occultism, literature, fiction, mythology and folklore. In Ancient Near Eastern religions
Ancient Near Eastern religions
as well as in the Abrahamic traditions, including ancient and medieval Christian
Christian
demonology, a demon is considered a harmful spiritual entity, below the heavenly planes[1] 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 Aggadah
Aggadah
and Christian demonology,[2] a demon is believed to be a spiritual entity that may be conjured and controlled.

Contents

1 Etymology 2 Ancient Near East

2.1 Mesopotamia

3 Judaism

3.1 Tanach 3.2 Talmudic tradition 3.3 Kabbalah 3.4 Aggadah 3.5 Second Temple period
Second Temple period
texts

4 Christianity

4.1 Christian
Christian
Bible

4.1.1 Old Testament 4.1.2 New Testament 4.1.3 Pseudepigrapha and Deuterocanonical books

4.2 Christian
Christian
demonology

5 Islam 6 Hinduism

6.1 Asuras 6.2 Evil spirits

7 Bahá'í Faith 8 Ceremonial magic 9 Wicca 10 Modern interpretations 11 See also 12 References 13 Citations 14 Further reading 15 External links

Etymology[edit] Further information: Daemon (classical mythology), Agathodaemon, Cacodemon, Daimonic, and Eudaimonia

Buer, the 10th spirit, who teaches "Moral and Natural Philosophy" (illustration by Louis Breton from Dictionnaire Infernal).

The Ancient Greek word δαίμων daimōn denotes a spirit or divine power, much like the Latin
Latin
genius or numen. Daimōn most likely came from the Greek verb daiesthai (to divide, distribute).[3] The Greek conception of a daimōn 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
Christian
interpretation, the former is anglicized as either daemon or daimon rather than demon.[citation needed] The original Greek word daimon does not carry the negative connotation initially understood by implementation of the Koine δαιμόνιον (daimonion),[4] and later ascribed to any cognate words sharing the root. 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
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."[5] The term had first acquired its negative connotations in the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Bible
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[6] derives seamlessly from the ambient popular culture of Late Antiquity. The Hellenistic "daemon" eventually came to include many Semitic and Near Eastern gods as evaluated by Christianity.[citation needed] 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, which is Crowley's interpretation of the so-called ' Demon
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[7] 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
Judaism
during the Persian era. Ancient Near East[edit]

Ancient Sumerian cylinder seal impression showing the god Dumuzid being tortured in the Underworld by galla demons

Mesopotamia[edit]

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."[8] They were represented as winged bulls, derived from the colossal bulls used as protective jinn of royal palaces.[9] 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.[10] Various diseases and ailments were ascribed to them, particularly those affecting the brain and those of internal nature. Examples include 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.[11] 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, at which the Essenes
Essenes
excelled[citation needed]. 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,[12] witnessed such a performance in the presence of the Emperor Vespasian[13] 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. Judaism[edit] See also: Shedim

In Lilith
Lilith
by John Collier (1892), the female demon Lilith
Lilith
is shown personified within the Garden of Eden

As referring to the existence or non-existence of shedim (Hebr. for "demons", "spirits") there are converse opinions in Judaism.[8] There are "practically nil" roles assigned to demons in the Jewish Bible.[14] In Judaism
Judaism
today, beliefs in shedim ("demons" or "evil spirits") are either midot hasidut (Hebr. for "customs of the pious"), and therefore not halachah, or notions based on a superstition that are non-essential, non-binding parts of Judaism, and therefore not normative Jewish practice. In conclusion, Jews are not obligated to believe in the existence of shedim, as posek rabbi David Bar-Hayim points out.[15] Tanach[edit] See also: Tanakh The word shedim (Hebr. for "demons" or "spirits") appears only in two places in the Tanakh
Tanakh
(Psalm 106:37, Deuteronomy 32:17). In both places, the term appears in a scriptural context of animal or child sacrifice to non-existent false gods that are called shedim.[8][14][16] Talmudic tradition[edit] See also: Talmud
Talmud
and Jerusalem Talmud In the Jerusalem Talmud
Talmud
notions of shedim ("demons" or "evil spirits") are almost unknown or occur only very rarely, whereas in the Babylon Talmud
Talmud
there are many references to shedim and magical incantations. The existence of shedim in general was not questioned by most of the Babylonian Talmudists. As a consequence of the rise of influence of the Babylonian Talmud
Talmud
over that of the Jerusalem Talmud, late rabbis in general took as fact the existence of shedim, nor did most of the medieval thinkers question their reality. However, rationalists like Maimonides, Saadia Gaon
Saadia Gaon
and Abraham ibn Ezra
Abraham ibn Ezra
and others explicitly denied their existence, and completely rejected concepts of demons, evil spirits, negative spiritual influences, attaching and possessing spirits. Their point of view eventually became mainstream Jewish understanding.[8][17] Kabbalah[edit] See also: Kabbalah
Kabbalah
and Dybbuk 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.[18] Aggadah[edit] See also: Aggadah
Aggadah
and Angels in Judaism Aggadic tales from the Persian tradition describe 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".[19][8] According to some aggadic stories, demons were under the dominion of a king or chief, either Asmodai[20] or, in the older Aggadah, Samael
Samael
("the angel of death"), who killed via poison. Stories in the fashion of this kind of folklore never became an essential feature of Jewish theology.[17] Although occasionally an angel is called satan in the Babylon Talmud, this does not refer to a demon: "Stand not in the way of an ox when coming from the pasture, for Satan
Satan
dances between his horns".[21] Second Temple period
Second Temple period
texts[edit] See also: Apotropaic magic
Apotropaic magic
and Angels in Judaism To the Qumran
Qumran
community during the Second Temple period
Second Temple period
this apotropaic prayer was assigned, 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).[22][23] In the Dead Sea Scrolls, there exists a fragment entitled "Curses of Belial" (Curses of Belial
Belial
(Dead Sea Scrolls, 394, 4Q286(4Q287, fr. 6)=4QBerakhot)). This fragment holds much rich language that reflects the sentiment shared between the Qumran
Qumran
towards Belial. In many ways this text shows how these people thought Belial
Belial
influenced sin through the way they address him and speak of him. By addressing " Belial
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
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.[24] It is clear that Belial
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
Qumran
have exposed and are calling upon God to protect them from. There is a deep sense of fear that Belial
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
Qumran
people would never feel impelled to craft a curse. This very fact illuminates the power Belial
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
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
Jubilees
1:19), Belial
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
Jubilees
1:19). Belial's tendency is to "ensnare [you] from every path of righteousness" ( Jubilees
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
Belial
with all sorts of misfortune and negative external influence, the Qumran
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).[25] This dichotomy sheds light on the negative connotations that Belial
Belial
held at the time.[26] Where God and his Sons of Light are forces that protect and promote piety, Belial
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
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
Belial
and his forces of temptation. However the fact that Belial
Belial
is the leader of hordes is a testament to how persuasive he can be. If Belial
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
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
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
Belial
reads: " Belial
Belial
shall be unleashed against Israel" (4Q266). This phrase is able to be interpreted myriad different ways. Belial
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
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
Qumran
people crafted the nets of Belial
Belial
to rationalize why these specific temptations were so toxic. Later in Column 5, Belial
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.[27] In the War of the Sons of Light Against the Sons of Darkness, Belial controls scores of demons, which are specifically allotted to him by God for the purpose of performing evil.[28] Belial, despite his malevolent disposition, is considered an angel.[29] Christianity[edit] Christian
Christian
Bible[edit] Old Testament[edit] Demons in the Old Testament of the Christian
Christian
Bible are of two classes: the "satyrs" or "shaggy goats" (from Hebr. se'irim "hairy beings" and Greek Old Testament
Greek Old Testament
σάτυρος satyros, "satyr"; Isaiah 13:21, 34:14)[30] and the "demons" (from Hebr. shedim, and Koine Greek δαιμόνιον daimonion; 106:35–39, 32:17). New Testament[edit]

Medieval illumination
Medieval illumination
from the Ottheinrich Folio depicting Jesus exorcizing the Gerasene demoniac

The term "demon" (from the Greek New Testament
New Testament
δαιμόνιον daimonion) appears 63 times in the New Testament
New Testament
of the Christian Bible.[31][32][33] Pseudepigrapha and Deuterocanonical books[edit] Main articles: Pseudepigrapha and Deuterocanonical books See also: Book of Tobit, Book of Enoch, and Book of Jubilees 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 the Book of Jubilees, which is considered canonical only by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church,[34] 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
Jubilees
49:2–4). In the Genesis flood narrative
Genesis flood narrative
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
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
Jubilees
10:1). In Jubilees
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
Jubilees
17:16). The discrepancy between the story in Jubilees
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
Jubilees
Mastema has an agenda behind promoting the sacrifice of Abraham's son, "an even more demonic act than that of the Satan
Satan
in Job."[35] 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.[36] These demons are passed into Mastema’s authority, where once again, an angel is in charge of demonic spirits.

Demon
Demon
Seated by Mikhail Vrubel
Mikhail Vrubel
(1890), an illustration to the Russian romantic poem demon by Mikhail Lermontov. Vrubel views this demon as "a spirit, not so much evil as suffering and sorrowing, but in all that a powerful spirit... a majestic spirit".[37]

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
Jubilees
10. The Nephilim
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.[38] 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
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
Nephilim
to the corruption of humans. In Enoch, sin originates when angels descend from heaven and fornicate with 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).[39] The Book of Jubilees
Jubilees
conveys that sin occurs when Cainan accidentally transcribes astrological knowledge used by the Watchers ( Jubilees
Jubilees
8). This differs from Enoch in that it does not place blame on the Angels. However, in Jubilees
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.[40] Christian
Christian
demonology[edit] Main articles: Christian
Christian
demonology, Exorcism
Exorcism
in Christianity, Exorcism
Exorcism
in the Catholic Church, and Demonic possession § Christianity

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

In Christianity, demons are corrupted spirits carrying the execution of Satan's desires. They are generally regarded as three different types of spirits:

Souls of the wicked deceased, which roam the earth to torment the living.[41] Nephilim, who came into being by union between angels and human, but their bodily part were wiped out during the Great flood. Their spiritual part now desires reembodiment.[42][43] Fallen angels, who sided with Lucifer
Lucifer
and were cast out of heaven by Michael
Michael
after battle.

Often deities of other religions are interpreted or identified as such "demons" (from the Greek Old Testament
Greek Old Testament
δαιμόνιον daimonion).[44] The evolution of the Christian
Christian
Devil and pentagram are examples of early rituals and images that showcase evil qualities, as seen by the Christian
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.[45] Christian demonology is studied in depth within the Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic
Church,[46] although many other Christian
Christian
churches affirm and discuss the existence of demons.[47][48] Building upon the few references to daemons in the New Testament, especially the poetry of the Book of Revelation, Christian
Christian
writers of apocrypha from the 2nd century onwards created a more complicated tapestry of beliefs about "demons" that was largely independent of Christian
Christian
scripture.

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

The contemporary Roman Catholic Church
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
Christian
can offer for themselves or others.[49] At various times in Christian
Christian
history, attempts have been made to classify demons according to various proposed demonic hierarchies. In the Gospels, particularly the Gospel of Mark, Jesus
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.[50]

Islam[edit] Main article: Shaitan

Demons depicted in the Book of Wonders, a late 14th century Arabic manuscript

The Islamic term "Shaitan" or "Shayateen" refers to demons in western usage.[51] The term is sometimes also translated as "devils" or "satans" and can also apply to sapient creatures when they act in accordance with the demons. Thus Islam
Islam
includes demons among humans and among Jinn
Jinn
("Shayateen al-Ins" and "Shayateen al-Jinn"), but demons make up a type of supernatural creature distinct from Jinn
Jinn
and angels.[52] Demons themselves can be classified into descendants of Iblis, fallen angels who sided with Iblis' rebellion against the creation of humanity,[53] and the Afarit, an infernal demon able to take the form of a death spirit.[54] Unlike Jinn, demons do not share human traits, like raising families, free-will, and mortality, although prayers are held to dissolve or banish them.[55] Therefore, amulets or talismans, engraved with the names of God or a prayer, are common in folk Islam, to provide protection against demons. Whisperings of demons are called waswās and may enter the hearts of humans, especially in states of strong emotion like depression or anger.[56] Hinduism[edit] Hindu beliefs include numerous varieties of spirits that might be classified as demons, including Vetalas, Bhutas and Pishachas. Rakshasas
Rakshasas
and Asuras
Asuras
are often also taken as demons. Asuras[edit]

The Army of Super Creatures – from The Saugandhika 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
Asuras
are half-brothers, sons of the same father Kashyapa; although some of the Devas, such as Varuna, are also called Asuras. Later, during Puranic
Puranic
age, Asura
Asura
and Rakshasa
Rakshasa
came to exclusively mean any of a race of anthropomorphic, powerful, possibly evil beings. Daitya (lit. sons of the mother "Diti"), Rakshasa
Rakshasa
(lit. from "harm to be guarded against"), and Asura
Asura
are incorrectly translated into English as "demon". Post Vedic, Hindu scriptures, pious, highly enlightened Asuras, such as Prahlada
Prahlada
and Vibhishana, are not uncommon. The Asura
Asura
are not fundamentally against the gods, nor do they tempt humans to fall. Many people metaphorically interpret the Asura
Asura
as manifestations of the ignoble passions in the human mind and as a symbolic devices. There were also cases of power-hungry Asuras
Asuras
challenging various aspects of the Gods, but only to be defeated eventually and seek forgiveness—see Surapadman and Narakasura. Evil spirits[edit] Hinduism advocates the reincarnation and transmigration of souls according to one's karma. Souls (Atman) of the dead are adjudged by the Yama
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[edit] 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.[57] Ceremonial magic[edit] 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 are not 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 in the famous grimoire known as the Lesser Key of Solomon.[58] Wicca[edit] According to Rosemary Ellen Guiley, "Demons are not courted or worshipped in contemporary Wicca
Wicca
and Paganism. The existence of negative energies is acknowledged."[59] Modern interpretations[edit]

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

Psychologist Wilhelm Wundt
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."[60] Sigmund Freud
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."[61] M. Scott Peck, an American psychiatrist, wrote two books on the subject, People of the Lie: The Hope For Healing Human Evil[62] and Glimpses of the Devil: A Psychiatrist's Personal Accounts of Possession, Exorcism, and Redemption.[63] 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.[64] 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
Roman Catholic
priest and a former Jesuit, despite the fact that Peck consistently called Martin a liar and a manipulator.[65][66] Richard Woods, a Roman Catholic
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.[65] Father Woods admitted that he has never witnessed a genuine case of demonic possession in all his years.[67][68][69] According to S. N. Chiu, 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 his divine authority.[70] According to the Britannica Concise Encyclopedia, demons, despite being typically associated with evil, are often shown to be under divine control, and not acting of their own devices.[71] See also[edit]

Acheri Archdemon Classification of demons Daemon (classical mythology) Daeva Empusa Erinyes Folk devil Ghoul Goblin Imp List of theological demons List of fictional demons Oni Holy water#Protection against evil Michael Spiritual warfare Theistic Satanism Yaoguai Zlydzens

References[edit]

^ S. T. Joshi Icons of Horror and the Supernatural: An Encyclopedia of Our Worst Nightmares, Band Greenwood Publishing Group 2007 ISBN 978-0-313-33781-9 page 34 ^ See, for example, the course synopsis and bibliography for "Magic, Science, Religion: The Development of the Western Esoteric Traditions" Archived November 29, 2014, at the Wayback Machine., at Central European University, Budapest ^ "Demon". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 12 April 2012.  ^ Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott. "δαιμόνιον". Greek-English Lexicon. Perseus.  ^ Fox, Robin Lane (1989). Pagans and Christians. p. 137.  ^ See the Medieval grimoire called the Ars Goetia. ^ Boyce, 1987; Black and Rowley, 1987; Duchesne-Guillemin, 1988. ^ a b c d e Hirsch, Emil G.; Gottheil, Richard; Kohler, Kaufmann; Broydé, Isaac (1906). "Demonology". Jewish Encyclopedia.  ^ 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. ^ compare Isaiah 38:11 with Job 14:13; Psalms 16:10, 49:16, and 139:8 ^ Isaacs, Ronald H. (1998). Ascending Jacob's Ladder: Jewish Views of Angels, Demons, and Evil Spirits. Jason Aronson. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-7657-5965-8. Retrieved 10 September 2014.  ^ Bellum Judaeorum vii. 6, § 3 ^ "Antiquities" viii. 2, § 5 ^ a b "Demons & Demonology". jewishvirtuallibrary.org. The Gale Group. Retrieved 21 March 2015.  ^ Bar-Hayim, David. "Do Jews Believe in Demons and Evil Spirits?-Interview with Rabbi David Bar-Hayim". www.youtube.com. Tora Nation Machon Shilo. Retrieved 20 March 2015.  ^ Plaut, W. Gunther (2005). The Torah: A Modern Commentary. Union for Reform Judaism. p. 1403.  ^ a b Bar-Hayim, David (HaRav). "Do Jews Believe in Demons and Evil Spirits?". Machon Shilo. Retrieved 20 March 2015.  ^ Pettigrove, Cedrick (2017-01-16). The Esoteric Codex: Supernatural Legends. Lulu.com. ISBN 9781329053090.  ^ (Targ. Yer. to Deuteronomy xxxii. 24 and Numbers vi. 24; Targ. to Cant. iii. 8, iv. 6; Eccl. ii. 5; Ps. xci. 5, 6.) ^ Targ. to Eccl. i. 13; Pes. 110a; Yer. Shek. 49b ^ Pes. 112b; compare B. Ḳ. 21a ^ García, Martínez Florentino. The Dead Sea Scrolls
Dead Sea Scrolls
Translated: The Qumran
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
Late Antiquity
to the Early Modern Period, compilers Jan Bremmer and Jan R. Veenstra (Leuven: Peeters, 2003). ^ Frey, J. (1984). "Different patterns of dualistic thought in the Qumran
Qumran
library". Legal Texts And Legal Issues. p. 287.  ^ Nickelsburg, George. Jewish Literature
Literature
between the Bible and the Mishna.  ^ Frey (1984), p. 278. ^ Nickelsburg, p. 147. ^ Dead Sea Scrolls
Dead Sea Scrolls
1QS III 20–25 ^ Martin, Dale Basil (2010). "When did Angels Become Demons?". Journal of Biblical Literature. 129 (4): 657–677. doi:10.2307/25765960. JSTOR 25765960.  ^ "Hebrew Concordance: ū·śə·'î·rîm – 1 Occurrence". Biblesuite.com. Retrieved 2014-03-12.  ^ "1140. daimonion". Biblos.com. Retrieved 20 March 2015.  ^ Dan Burton and David Grandy, Magic, Mystery, and Science: The Occult in Western Civilization (Indiana University Press, 2003), p. 120 online. ^ Illes, Judika (2009). Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses. HarperCollins. p. 902.  ^ Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985. It is considered one of the pseudepigrapha by Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox
Churches ^ Moshe Berstein, Angels at the Aqedah: A Study in the Development of a Midrashic Motif, (Dead Sea Discoveries, 7, 2000), 267. ^ Jubilees
Jubilees
10:7–9 ^ Sara Elizabeth Hecker. Dueling Demons: Mikhail Vrubel’s Demon Seated and Demon
Demon
Downcast Archived 2015-06-15 at the Wayback Machine.. Art in Russia, the School of Russian and Asian Studies, 2012 ^ 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
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.  ^ Victor I. Ezigbo Re-imagining African Christologies: Conversing with the Interpretations and Appropriations of Jesus
Jesus
in Contemporary African Christianity
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Wipf and Stock Publishers 2010 ISBN 978-1-630-87803-0 page 235 ^ Juanita Feros Ruys Demons in the Middle Ages ISD LLC 2017 ISBN 978-1-942-40136-0 ^ Maijastina Kahlos Debate and Dialogue: Christian
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and Pagan Cultures C. 360-430 Routledge 2016 ISBN 978-1-317-15436-5 page 174 ^ 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 ^ Orlov, Andrei A. (2015). Divine Scapegoats : Demonic Mimesis in Early Jewish Mysticism. New York: SUNY Press. p. 4. ISBN 9781438455846.  ^ 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 ^ Corapi, John (February 9, 2004). "Angels and Demons – Facts not Fiction". fathercorapi.com. Archived from the original on 2004-04-05.  ^ Augustine of Hippo. "Chapter 11: Of the Opinion of the Platonists, that the Souls of Men Become Demons When Disembodied". City of God.  ^ Charles Mathewes Understanding Religious Ethics John Wiley & Sons ISBN 978-1-405-13351-7. p. 249 ^ Amira El-Zein Islam, Arabs, and Intelligent World of the Jinn Syracuse University Press 2009 ISBN 9780815650706 page 18 ^ Robert Lebling Legends of the Fire Spirits: Jinn
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and Genies from Arabia to Zanzibar I.B.Tauris 2010 ISBN 978-0-857-73063-3 page 141 ^ el-Sayed El-Aswad Religion
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and Folk Cosmology: Scenarios of the Visible and Invisible in Rural Egypt Greenwood Publishing Group 2002 ISBN 978-0-897-89924-6. p. 153 ^ Hajjah Amina Adil Muhammad the Messenger of Islam: His Life & Prophecy BookBaby 2012 ISBN 978-1-618-42913-1 chapter Ezra ^ ʻUmar Sulaymān AshqarThe World of the Jinn
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and Devils Islamic Books 1998 page 203 ^ Smith, Peter (2008). An Introduction to the Baha'i Faith. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 112. ISBN 978-0-521-86251-6.  ^ A. E. Waite, The Book of Black Magic, (Weiser Books, 2004). ^ Guiley, Rosemary (2008). The Encyclopedia of Witches, Witchcraft and Wicca. p. 95.  ^ Freud (1950, p. 65), quoting Wundt (1906, 129). ^ Freud (1950) ^ 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 Archived 2005-12-19 at the Wayback Machine. ^ a b The devil you know, National Catholic Reporter, April 29, 2005, a commentary on Glimpses of the Devil by Richard Woods ^ The Patient Is the Exorcist, an interview with M. Scott Peck by Laura Sheahen ^ Dominican Newsroom Archived August 29, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. ^ "RichardWoodsOP.net". RichardWoodsOP.net. Archived from the original on 2013-12-28. Retrieved 2014-03-12.  ^ Haarman, Susan (2005-10-25). "BustedHalo.com". BustedHalo.com. Retrieved 2014-03-12.  ^ Chiu, S. N. (2000). "Historical, Religious, and Medical Perspectives of Possession Phenomenon". Hong Kong Journal of Psychiatry. 10 (1).  ^ "Demon" in Britannica Concise Encyclopedia,

Citations[edit]

Freud, Sigmund (1950). Totem and Taboo:Some Points of Agreement between the Mental Lives of Savages and Neurotics. Translated by Strachey. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0-393-00143-3.  Wundt, W. (1906). Mythus und Religion, Teil II (Völkerpsychologie, Band II). Leipzig. Castaneda, Carlos (1998). The Active Side of Infinity. HarperCollins NY ISBN 978-0-06-019220-4 Hughes, Thomas Patrick (1995). Dictionary of Islam. Asian Educational Services. ISBN 978-8-120-60672-2. 

Further reading[edit]

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 0-385-52270-3.  Amorth, Gabriele (1999). An Exorcist Tells His Story. Ignatius Press. ISBN 0-89870-710-2. 

External links[edit]

Look up δαίμων in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Look up demon in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Demons.

Catechism of the Catholic Church: Hyperlinked references to demons in the online Catechism of the Catholic Church Dictionary of the History of Ideas: Demonology Profile of William Bradshaw, American demonologist Riverfront Times, St. Louis, Missouri,

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