Black Spirituality Religion : DEVIL-MONGERING

Discussion in 'Black Spirituality / Religion - General Discussion' started by Amnat77, Apr 26, 2011.

  1. Amnat77

    Amnat77 Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Dec 11, 2006
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    Early church fathers gravely discussed the nature of demons and their powers. Augustine devoted many chapters of The City of God to them. He condemned rites aiming "to cleanse the mind by the invocation of devils." [Book 10,10] His De Doctrina Christiana also forbade consulting demons, advancing the notion of pact with demons. This idea later assumed a deadly importance in the witch-hunts.

    The original Greek word daimon meant a guardian spirit or divinity. Hellenistic and Roman literature is full of references to women who invoked these beings, especially Thessalian, Thracian and Sicilian witches who were reknowned for their magic arts. Churchmen also believed in the efficacy of magic, but they opposed any invocation of pagan deities in the belief that they were evil. Ascetic monks in the Syrian and Egyptian deserts fought against the spirits who appeared to them, and explained their forbidden sexual fantasies as temptations by female demons. Medieval priests' belief in succubi began with them.

    The priesthood drew other ideas about demons from the Jewish apocryphal Book of Enoch, which recounted how great angels rebelled against God and fell from heaven. The Latin name for the prince of these expelled angels was Lucifer ("lightbringer"). Theologians made him into an anti-god subsuming everything pagan, heretical and rebellious. In the 1200s and 1300s, the Church persecuted heretics as "Luciferans."

    In the Hebrew Bible, Satan is the "Adversary." The name Satan appears frequently in the Christian testament. Greek christians translated this name with their word diabolos, "accuser." This became Latin diabolus, Spanish diablo, French diable, English devil and German teufel. Early christian art often represents the devil with animal attributes associated with pagan spirits, especially reptiles, bats and goats.

    Another important thread runs through the imperial Church's conception of the Devil or demons in general. The Epistle of Barnabas called the devil "the Black One." [Russell, 114] Church historian Theodoret claimed that a black demon had tried to prevent a Syrian bishop from burning down a pagan temple. [Cohn, 68] For St Jerome, blackness was linked with the devil. [Russell, 114; Wedeck, 93] St Macarius the Younger saw demons "like foul Ethiops" flying around some monks. [Lea, MTHW 67] and a demon cast out of an image in the Acts of Barthomew is described as "like an Ethiopian." Pope Gregory "the Great" wrote that black demons carry the evil off to hell. [McColloch, 61]

    As early as the 4th century artists painting the temptation of St Anthony show the devil as a demonized black man, and naked black devils appear continually in major works of religious art such as the Book of Kells, the Stuttgart Gospels, and various Spanish manuscripts. [Francoise, 189]

    Conversely, the clergy frequently used whiteness as a symbol of moral purity. In Ireland the christianized Brehon laws described Patrick as "the man of the white language," while Irish sources shortly after his time refer to "the black laws of paganism." [Condren, 62, on white language] A racist association of blackness with evil became embedded in Church symbolism, and over centuries it spread across Europe.
  2. gogounited

    gogounited Well-Known Member MEMBER

    United States
    Feb 17, 2010
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    Nice find. :bowdown: