Monday, October 03, 2016

Satan in Judaism

THE ADVERSARY: Where Did Satan Come From? (Laura Geggel, Live Science).
The devil goes by many names — Satan, the Prince of Darkness, Beelzebub and Lucifer to name a few — but besides this list of aliases, what do people really know about the brute? That is, how did the story of Satan originate?

This article discusses various ideas about the origins of the figure of Satan, with forays into early Christianity and even modern ideas. Elaine Pagels is interviewed.

A few thoughts. I would not say that the satan is a " demon-like figure" in the Book of Job. He is one of the angelic divine council that meets with God and the term satan means "adversary." He is more the prosecuting attorney of heaven, whose job it is to report to God on human sin, than he is any kind of evil figure. Contrary to what the article says, the satan does appear again in the Hebrew Bible: first in Zechariah 3, where he has a similar role to that in Job; second in 1 Chronicles 21, in which he successfully incited David to sin by undertaking a census of Israel. The same story is told in 2 Samuel 24, but with God playing the role of divine inciter. Also, the reference to Isaiah 4 should be to Isaiah 14.

Some past posts on Satan are here and here and links.