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:

Azazel In Leviticus 16:8 the term appears in the line "He is to cast lots for the two goats—one lot for the LORD and the other for the scapegoat." The term for "scapegoat in Hebrew in this line is "Azazel". In the book of Enoch, Azazel is one of the "watcher" or "fallen" angels (grigori (who mate with human women) and produce a race of "giants" or nephalim. Although there are supposed to be 2000 of these angels, the apocryphal Book of Enoch lists only the leaders: These are the names of their chiefs: Samyaza, who was their leader, Urakabarameel, Akibeel, Tamiel, Ramuel, Danel, Azkeel, Saraknyal, Asael, Armers, Batraal, Anane, Zavebe, Samsaveel, Ertael, Turel, Yomyael, Azazyel (also known as Azazel). These were the prefects of the two hundred angels, and the remainder were all with them. (Enoch 7:9) Azazel taught people to make weapons of war and taught women to make cosmetics. In the Book of Enoch it is because of the iniquities created as a result of Azazel God wipes out the world with a flood saving only Noah. Azazel may mean "The strong one of God" (El being one of the words for God) 'aziz 'el. 'Aziz is also a Canaanite deity that makes the sun burn hotly. May have been influenced by the Egyptian god Seth.

Beelzebub: Possibly for "exaulted Baal" (Baal being a word sometimes equal to God. It is sometimes thought to mean "Lord of the Flies".

Belial (means "one who acts reprehensively") In one of the Dead Sea Scrolls Belial is the leader of the forces of darknessin their war against the forces of light. Belial is consideed by some the father of Lucifer and the instigator of Lucifer's rebellion.

Lucifer: "The bearer of light" (possibly a reference to the the statement that discusses the "fallen angels" as falling like stars). The name is usually used to refer to the angel that led the revolt of the angels. Just to confuse people, occasionally Lucifer refers to Venus when it rises in the morning before theh sun.

Mastema: Name may be from Hebrew mastemah meaning "enmity" or "hatred". It may be the Aramaic word mastima meaning "accuser" hence relating it to the word "satan".

Mephistopheles: The name of the Devil in the late 15th early 16th century Faust legend. Perhaps meaning "not light loving"

Sammael The name derives from sami - "blind". This name is used to call the Devil in Weber's opera Der Freischutz.

Satan: From a Hebrew word meaning "adversary" or "accuser". It occurs in the Bible as a term for someone approaching in the other direction on the road. When Jesus says "Get thee behind me Satan" he is not talking to the Devil but to Peter, one of the disciples who is attempting to convince Jesus not to got to Jerusalem where Peter understands that Jesus will be killed. Jesus implies that Peter is "obstructing" his path, not that Peter is the Devil.

Satanael or Satanail: Both are names derived from Satan but occur only in the Apocalyptic period.

Semyaza Name may mean "watcher" or "rebel"

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.