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3 years ago  ::  Mar 07, 2011 - 3:06PM #1
mainecaptain
Posts: 21,783
I hope you all forgive me for this, but I was one the DC board and a someone  said that one of the psalms
Quoting here,
"Hebrew Psalms, which says " ( the gods of the heathen are demons Ps 95:4-5).  " he is getting his info from the Greek LXX.

It made me want to ask.
What is the Jewish view of demons? Do the exist in Judaism?, if yes what are they supposed to be, or represent? I find the concept rather bizarre.
Please don't be offended, I am really ignorant in this area, and have sincere interest in  learning.

Thank you to everyone in advance
A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side. Aristotle
Never discourage anyone...who continually makes progress, no matter how slow. Plato..
"A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives" Jackie Robinson
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3 years ago  ::  Mar 07, 2011 - 4:36PM #2
vra
Posts: 6,403

Yes, those who belong to other branches of Judaism other than mine are full of them.


OK, just kidding of course, but the answer is that references to demons do show up in the Talmud and Kabbalah, however many sages have had doubts about their supposed existance.  Like so many other areas, we tend to have wide differences of opinions, however by and large they're really not much discussed, therefore indicating that even if they do exist, they may only play a very minor role.


Here's a site you might check out: www.myjewishlearning.com/beliefs/Issues/... 

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3 years ago  ::  Mar 07, 2011 - 4:44PM #3
vra
Posts: 6,403

Mar 7, 2011 -- 3:06PM, mainecaptain wrote:


Quoting here,
"Hebrew Psalms, which says " ( the gods of the heathen are demons Ps 95:4-5).  " he is getting his info from the Greek LXX.
 



 


Are you sure you have the right verse because here's what the Jewish Virtual Library has for that: Psalms 95: 4 In whose hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are His also. 


5 The sea is His, and He made it; and His hands formed the dry land. -- www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Bib...




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3 years ago  ::  Mar 07, 2011 - 5:25PM #4
rocketjsquirell
Posts: 15,643

VRA


I understand that there are some differences in the numbering and placement of things between the Hebrew Bible and the bible(s) that are used by Christians, perhaps that applies to the Psalms as well. I don't study the Christian versions so I really do not know, just guessing. 


Maine


No need to worry, there are no demons. I think you are referring to Psalm 96 line 5 which translates as "All the gods of the peoples (the nations) are mere idols, but the lord made the heavens" Unfortunately there are such things as idols.


 

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3 years ago  ::  Mar 07, 2011 - 5:59PM #5
mainecaptain
Posts: 21,783

Mar 7, 2011 -- 4:44PM, vra wrote:


Mar 7, 2011 -- 3:06PM, mainecaptain wrote:


Quoting here,
"Hebrew Psalms, which says " ( the gods of the heathen are demons Ps 95:4-5).  " he is getting his info from the Greek LXX.
 



 


Are you sure you have the right verse because here's what the Jewish Virtual Library has for that: Psalms 95: 4 In whose hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are His also. 


5 The sea is His, and He made it; and His hands formed the dry land. -- www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Bib...







That was a direct quote from the person in question, I myself have not look up the verse, (sorry about that, I am embarrassed to admit that)

A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side. Aristotle
Never discourage anyone...who continually makes progress, no matter how slow. Plato..
"A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives" Jackie Robinson
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3 years ago  ::  Mar 07, 2011 - 6:05PM #6
mainecaptain
Posts: 21,783

Thank you Rocket, you are probably correct about the correct verse. I personally think he was just using it to demonize (for the pun) people of other religions. And I wanted to know if the verse actually existed and if demons exist in Jewish belief,


I had been given he impression that it might not be normative Jewish thought.


 


 


Vern, Thank you for the link I plan to look in on that, I am genuinely interested Thank you both :)

A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side. Aristotle
Never discourage anyone...who continually makes progress, no matter how slow. Plato..
"A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives" Jackie Robinson
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3 years ago  ::  Mar 07, 2011 - 8:22PM #7
LeahOne
Posts: 16,246

Maine, basically in Judaism there is YHVH and there are humans.  The 'angels' which we perceive as 'beings' are really 'emanations' of the Divine Will.  In Judaism there is no 'other' supernatural being .


However, that doesn't account for adopting some of the folklore and superstitions of neighboring cultures - which is how we suppose that stuff got into the beliefs of my less educated ancestors.  And let's face it - a good story is a good story, so it's going to get repeated even if it's not treated as 'truth'....

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3 years ago  ::  Mar 07, 2011 - 9:58PM #8
mainecaptain
Posts: 21,783

Thank you Leah, I appreciate your answer, I have learned a lot from you over the years.


And everyone here. When I hear  some on other boards bandying around demons, especially when they say they are getting from the Hebrew scriptures, I want to make sure my knowledge is from those who know.


Even if I never respond at least I learned something. I personally do not believe in demons.


Although I do believe in a lot of weird and odd things :))

A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side. Aristotle
Never discourage anyone...who continually makes progress, no matter how slow. Plato..
"A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives" Jackie Robinson
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3 years ago  ::  Mar 08, 2011 - 12:14AM #9
MSaraTemp
Posts: 800


If it's Psalm 94, that one speaks of the "wicked" and the "evil-doers."

Which [in a way] can be viewd as "demons" so to speak.

Either way, MC, ask the person for the correct Psalm and which book version he's citing from.
Then we can take it from there.

:)

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3 years ago  ::  Mar 08, 2011 - 1:54PM #10
nieciedo
Posts: 5,617

Ancient Semitic religion had a host of gods and goddesses together with intermediate good and evil spirits.


Ancient Israelite religion eliminated all of these supernatural beings except for the one singular God. 


Older texts contained references to the good and evil spirits, various "divine beings" and other "demons" that are usually either chthonic or fertility-oriented. These were reinterpretated by the original Israelites to refer to "angels" in case of the former (who were not seen as beings in their own right but sort of stand-ins or emanations of the One God). In the case of the later, the belief in demons and evil spirits was transformed in two directions: either as references to false gods of other religions that Israelites did not believe exist or into the concept of "ritual impurity" (tum'ah) that permeates the Priestly code of the Torah.


The effects of ritual impurity, which in the Torah are attributable to human conditions and actions, were caused by evil spirits in Babylonia and other Semitic cultures. 


Original Israelite monotheism allowed for no other supernatural beings except for God.


After the Babylonian Exile, Jewish thought came under a great deal of influence from Persian religion and much of the later and more familiar teachings about angels AND demons came from the influence of Zoroastrianism. Later, by the time of the Talmud, a great deal of superstition and folklore had developed and seeped into Rabbinic thought giving rise to magic and many bizarre and fantastical beliefs about demons.


This continued into later historical experiences. The folk beliefs of Ashkenazi Jews imported a great deal from Slavic and Germanic folk mythis and Sephardic Jews absorbed a lot from Arabic folklore - and both of these sources were chock full of evil spirits and superstitions to fend them off or control  them or whathaveyou. 


As part of the Pesian influence, the Satan or Accuser (essentially the angel - emanation of God - who acted the role of the DA in the heavenly court) drifted into becoming not just the Adversary of the human being on trial for his righteousness before God but the Adversary of God or the Devil. This belief was commonplace enough in the first century for Christianity to adopt it and so came up with the idea of evil spirits out to corrupt and destroy humanity through deception, temptation, and lies.


Combining this belief with the belief that the Christian and Jewish Scriptures together form a single cohesive unit, they then went back and read demons into places in the Torah and other Jewish writings where they did not and do not exist.

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