Satan and Belial
- As I'm working through discussions of both gospel references to Satan in
commentaries and other literature, as well as dictionary articles on
demons, Satan, Mastema, Belial, etc., I am noticing what appears to be
an unargued (but very prevalent) assumption, namely, that the authors of
the DSS think that Belial and Satan are one and the same. This then
leads to commentators attributing to Satan all of the activities that
the DSS attributes to Belial.
Thus, for instance when John Nolland, commenting upon Lk. 10:18, claims
The present text has a clear relationship to a Jewish
tradition that anticipated in the eschatological period a
final conflict between God and Satan, which would result in
the evidence he appeals to in support of what he says about Satan is,
among other texts, 1QM 15:12–16:1; 17:5–8. But neither of these
texts speak of Satan. They speak of Belial and "his armies" and of "the
wicked spirits" and of the "prince of the dominion of evil".
Now it may very well be that Nolland (and others) are quite correct to
do what they do. But I'm "bedeviled" by a feeling that they are not,
and that the assumption that allows them to make such a transference is
grounded (as H.A. Kelly has been arguing) in an apriori about who Satan
is and what he does that is informed by a retrojection of later views of
Satan into the intertestamental period.
So here's my question:
What, if anything, supports the assumption that Satan and Belial were
viewed in the DSS and elsewhere as one and the same? How is the
transference of attributes of Beliar to Satan justified?
Might it be that the assumption that allows such transference is
unwarranted and illegitimate?
Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
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