Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

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“Devil” translates Greek διάβολος/diabolos, transliterated into Latin as diabolus. Diabolos, an adjective used as a substantive, had a specific sense in classical Greek of “slanderer,” but it came to be used in more general terms to mean “enemy,” and when used by early Christians, often with the definite article (ho diabolos), it most often referred to a particular enemy, “the devil”; in writings from the New Testament onward, Christians used diabolos along…

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Lunn-Rockliffe, Sophie, “Devil”, in: Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, General Editor David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte. Consulted online on 27 September 2020 <>
First published online: 2018

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