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Demon Δαίμων

(3,695 words)

Author(s): G. J. Riley
I. Name The term ‘demon’ is the rendering of the cognate Greek words δαίμων and its substantivized neuter adjective δαιμόνιον; post-classical Latin borrowed the words in the forms daemon and daemonium. The original meaning of the term δαίμων from the time of Homer onward was ‘divinity’, denoting either an individual god or goddess (of Aphrodite in Il. 3.420), or the Deity as an unspecified unity ( Od. 3.27 “the Deity will put it in your mind”). Δεισιδαιμονία means ‘reverence for the Divinity’, or simply ‘religion’ ( Acts 25.19; cf. Acts 17.22). Plato derived the word from the ne…

Devil Διάβολος

(3,849 words)

Author(s): G. J. Riley
I. Name The term ‘devil’ is a rendering of the Greek word διάβολος, used as a loan word by Latin Christian writers as diabolus. As a proper noun in intertestamental Jewish texts and Christian writers the word denotes the great Adversary of God and righteousness, the Devil. It is so used in the Septuagint as a translation for the Hebrew śāṭān (Satan) (e. g. Job 1 and Job 2; 1 Chr. 21.1), and appears often with this meaning in the New Testament (e.g. Matt. 4.1). In ancient Greek usage, however, διάβολος was an adjective generally denoting something or someone ‘slanderous’ and ‘de…

Midday Demon Δαιμόνιον Μεσημβρινόν

(489 words)

Author(s): G. J. Riley
I. Name The Midday Demon is found in the Septuagint version of Ps. 91.6 (LXX Ps. 90.6). In Ps. 91.5–6, the Hebrew psalmist declares that the one who takes refuge in the Almighty will not fear: “The Terror of the night nor the Arrow that flies by day, nor the Pestilence ( Deber) that stalks in darkness nor the Destruction ( Qeṭeb) that wastes at noonday”. The parallelism of the verses twice balances a night and a daytime Evil, each of which was understood by rabbinic interpreters to refer to a demonic spirit: the day-time Qeteb is balanced by the night demon, Pestilence, Deber. In Deut. 32.24 the ‘…