NAMES FOR THE DEVIL
The Devil* is a complex figure in Western belief. There is a long history that deals with the concept of the devil from the earliest Judeo-Christian traditions through the Dark Ages and the Middle Ages up until the present. The Devil is often confused with other kinds of supernatural beings like demons.
The term 'devil" arrives in English via the Latin word "diabolus" which is derived from Late Greek diabolos meaning "slander". This in turn is derived from a Greek verb "to slander" diaballein. Ballein itself means "to hurl".
Demon, on the other hand derives from the Latin daemōn ultimately from the Greek daimōn meaning "divine power".
The Devil, because of his history which we will be discussing later, is known by a number of terms, some of the more commoon of which are listed below:
Some names like Azazel are thought on occasion to mean the Devil, but this is not certain. The word seems to denote "scapegoat" meant for teh wiolderness. The name Azazel is used in the film Fallen
*In this class I will capitalize the word Devil when it refers to the figure which figures in the Judeo-Christian tradition. The word devil is often used for other "evil spirits" and even occurs in words like "dust devil" a kind of small whirlwind. When the term refers to any other figure the word will be written with a lower case letter.
The gender of the Devil is problematic. Although, like the Judeo-Christian God, the Devil is often thought of as male, as evidenced by the use of the pronoun "he", there are those who argue the devil is andgrogynous (having both genders simultaneously) or having the ability take on whatever gender he/she or it chooses. For simplicity sake, I will stay with the traditional "he" in discussing the devil.