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Bible Dictionaries

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary


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A name given by the ancients to certain spirits or genii, which, they say, appeared to men, either to do them service, or to hurt them. Several of the heathen philosophers held that there were different kinds of daemons; that some of them were spiritual substances, of a more noble origin than the human race, and that others had once been men. But those daemons who were the more immediate objects of the established worship among the ancient nations were human spirits, such as were believed to become daemons, or deities, after their departure from their bodies. It has been generally thought, that by daemons we are to understand devils, in the Septuagint version of the Old Testament. Others think the word is in that version certainly applied to the ghosts of such dead men as the heathens deined, in Deuteronomy 32:17 . Psalms 106:37 . That daemon often bears the same meaning in the New Testament, and particularly in Acts 17:18 . 1 Corinthians 10:21 . 1 Timothy 4:1 . Revelation 9:13 , is shown at large by Mr. Joseph Mede, (see Works, p. 623, et. seq.) That the word is applied always to human spirits in the New Testament, Mr. Farmer has attempted to shew in his Essay on Daemoniacs, p. 208. et. seq. As to the meaning of the word Daemon in the fathers of the Christian church, it is used by them in the same sense as it was by the heathen philosophers, especially the latter Platonists; that is, sometimes for departed human spirits, and at other times for such spirits as had never inhabited human bodies. In the fathers, indeed, the word is more commonly taken in an evil sense, than in the ancient philosophers.

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Bibliography Information
Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Daemons'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. 1802.

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