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Satan and Belial

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  • Jeffrey B. Gibson
    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,
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 8, 2007
      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
      that:


      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
      Satan’s defeat

      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?


      Yours,

      Jeffrey
      --
      Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
      1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
      Chicago, Illinois
      e-mail jgibson000@...



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