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Related: incubus - succubus - devil - evil
Films with demon in the title: Demon Seed (1977)
Le Cauchemar (The Nightmare) - (1781) Henry Fuseli
--American Heritage Dictionary
- An inferior deity, such as a deified hero.
- An attendant spirit; a genius.
DefinitionA demon is a supernatural evil or malicious spirit. The word demon was first used in the New Testament, from the Greek word daemon, δαίμονες or δαιμόνια. In various cultures demons are still feared within popular superstition. --http://en2.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Devil, Feb 2004
In folklore and the mythology of some religions, a demon is a supernatural evil or malicious spirit, capable of possessing a human being. The Greek word daemon, δαίμονες or δαιμόνια was used in the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Bible and in the Greek originals of the New Testament. The medieval and neo-medieval conception of "demon" has derived without a break from the ambient popular culture of Late Antiquity.
Greco-Roman concepts of daemons that passed into Christian culture are discussed in the entry Daemon.
In some cultures demons are still feared within popular superstition. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demon [Sept 2004]
In art and literature
Many classic books and plays feature demons, such as the Divine Comedy, Paradise Lost and Faust.
In C. S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters a senior demon in Hell's hierarchy writes a series of letters to his subordinate trainee, Wormwood, offering advice in the techniques of temptation of humans. Though fictional, it offers a plausible contemporary Christian viewpoint of the relationship of humans and demons.
Demons have permeated the culture of children's cartoons and anime; they are used in comic books as powerful adversaries in the horror, fantasy and superhero stories. There are a handful of demons who fight for good for their own reasons like DC Comics' The Demon and Marvel Comics' Ghost Rider. By contrast, Hellboy is a demon raised by humans and has vowed to protect them, owing no allegiance to Hell.
In Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, dæmons are the physical incarnation of a person's soul. Although they bear almost no resemblance to 'Christian' demons, the word is pronounced the same.
The works of J.R.R. Tolkien feature demon-like beings called Balrogs, terrible spirits of flame with humanoid bodies and (depending on who you ask) wings, one of which is encountered in the Lord of the Rings as well as his writings about the First Age of Middle-earth.
Cenobites are demons which feature in the works of Clive Barker, such as the novel The Hellbound Heart on which the film Hellraiser is based.
In recent times, Fr. Gabriele Amorth, chief exorcist at the Vatican, has published two books on his experiences with Satan and demons entitled An Exorcist Tells His Story, and An Exorcist: More Stories published by Ignatius Press. Dr. Ed Murphy has written a comprehensive tome on the subject entitled The Handbook for Spiritual Warfare. Rick Harrison currently has a didactic online hyperlinked novel concerning demons in progress, well documented to scripture, which speculates about demonic involvment in popular culture and the prophetic events of the end times: Until the Thousand Years Were Ended (http://rick-harrison.com). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demon#In_art_and_literature [Nov 2004]
DemonologyDemonology is the systematic study of demons. To the extent that it refers to theology elaborating the meaning of sacred texts, demonology is an orthodox branch of theology. The most extensive statement of western Christian demonology is the Malleus Maleficarum of Jacob Sprenger and Heinrich Kramer, which attempted to prove that the existence and power of witchcraft were an integral part of the Roman Catholic faith. In another sense, demonology refers to catalogues that attempt to name and set a hierarchy to evil spirits. In this sense, demonology is the mirror image of angelology, which attempts to compile the same information for good spirits.
In Christian tradition, demons are fallen angels, so demonology could be considered a branch of angelology. However, many databases of demonology seem to be compiled for the assistance of those who would invoke evil spirits, containing instructions on how to summon them and (hopefully) bend them to the conjuror's will. The grimoires of occult magic are the tomes that contain the lore of this version of demonology.
The existence of a malevolent supernatural personality who works to thwart the will of a good God is a central tenet of both Christianity and Islam. These faiths, in turn, derive the Satan or Shaitan figure from Judaism. It is generally accepted among scholars that Judaism received the concept from Zoroastrianism, wherein a good god known as Ahura Mazda is engaged in a cosmic battle with an evil god known as Angra Mainyu. The New Testament explicitly affirms the existence of lesser adversary spirits, as does the Qur'an. However, the Old Testament presents Satan as a member of God's heavenly court who acts as a prosecuting attorney, seeking God's permission to test the virtue of Job.
Some branches of Buddhism affirm the existence of Hells peopled by demons who torment sinners and tempt mortals to sin, or who seek to thwart their enlightenment. Hinduism contains traditions of combats between its gods and various adversaries, such as the combat of Indra and Vritra. --http://en2.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demonology, Apr 2004
Sexuality in Christian demonology
By supporting the idea that demons could rape women and sexual relationships with them were painful, Nicholas Remy assigned a sadistic tendency to their sexuality, meanwhile most demonologists considered it pleasing.--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexuality_in_Christian_demonology [Aug 2004]
It was considered that demons always had sexual relationships with witches and warlocks in the form of incubi and succubae, and some witches had sexual intercourse with a male goat, as it was supported by Pierre de Rostegny. But common people, as it was believed, also were seduced by incubi and succubae, especially while they were asleep, and sometimes when they were awake, in the form of a beautiful man or woman that excited their desire to the point of not being able to resist the temptation, although the possibility of resistance always existed as asserted by Christian theologians, but the tendency to sin was stronger than their faith. Francesco Maria Guazzo offered detailed descriptions of sexual relationships between demons and humans.
Nicholas Remy, disagreeing with many theologians and demonologists, supported the idea that even if a woman opposed resistance to the demon he could rape her, and wrote about a case of a young teenager that "was raped twice the same day by a demon, although she opposed resistance, and, not being her body enough mature to receive a man, she almost died because of the hurts". Catherine Latonia confessed this case to him in 1587. If that confession was an excuse to avoid giving the name of the rapist or the girl actually thought that a demon had raped her, will remain unknown. Sylvester Prieras agreed with Remy, supporting the idea that demons could not only rape common women but also nuns. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexuality_in_Christian_demonology [Aug 2004]
Demons of the Night (1995) - Joan C. Kessler (Editor)
Demons of the Night : Tales of the Fantastic, Madness, and the Supernatural from Nineteenth-Century France (1995) - Joan C. Kessler (Editor) [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
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