Demons in Flavius Josephus

Herein we prove quotations and citations on Demons from Flavius Josephus (37 AD-100 AD). The fuller complete result consists of quotations of those sections within the text that refer to Angels, Cherubim, Seraphim, Devil, Satan, demons, serpent and dragon. The point is not to elucidate these references but to provide relevant partial quotations and citations.

Herein we prove quotations and citations on Demons from Flavius Josephus (37 AD-100 AD). The fuller complete result consists of quotations of those sections within the text that refer to Angels, Cherubim, Seraphim, Devil, Satan, demons, serpent and dragon. The point is not to elucidate these references but to provide relevant partial quotations and citations. See my section on Angels here, Cherubim and Seraphim here, Satan here and Demons here.

Demons in Flavius Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews, Against Apion aka Contra Apion and The Wars of the Jews

Antiquities of the Jews
Book VI
8:2 But as for Saul, some strange and demoniacal disorders came upon him… these demons came upon him and disturbed him, and to take care that such a person might stand over him, and play upon the harp, and recite hymns to him…So Jesse sent his son, and gave him presents to carry to Saul. And when he was come, Saul was pleased with him, and made him his armor-bearer, and had him in very great esteem; for he charmed his passion, and was the only physician against the trouble he had from the demons, whensoever it was that it came upon him, and this by reciting of hymns, and playing upon the harp, and bringing Saul to his right mind again.

11:2-3 Consider these things, and change your mind to a more merciful temper, and do no mischief to a man, who, in the first place, hath done us the greatest kindness of preserving thee; for when an evil spirit and demons had seized upon thee, he cast them out, and procured rest to thy soul from their incursions: and, in the second place, hath avenged us of our enemies; for it is a base thing to forget such benefits…when the demoniacal spirit came upon him, and put him into disorder, and disturbed him, he called for David into his bed-chamber wherein he lay, and having a spear in his hand, he ordered him to charm him with playing on his harp, and with singing hymns.

Book VIII
2:5 God also enabled him to learn that skill which expels demons, which is a science useful and sanative to men. He composed such incantations also by which distempers are alleviated. And he left behind him the manner of using exorcisms, by which they drive away demons, so that they never return; and this method of cure is of great force unto this day; for I have seen a certain man of my own country, whose name was Eleazar, releasing people that were demoniacal in the presence of Vespasian, and his sons, and his captains, and the whole multitude of his soldiers.
The manner of the cure was this: He put a ring that had a Foot of one of those sorts mentioned by Solomon to the nostrils of the demoniac, after which he drew out the demon through his nostrils; and when the man fell down immediately, he abjured him to return into him no more, making still mention of Solomon, and reciting the incantations which he composed.
And when Eleazar would persuade and demonstrate to the spectators that he had such a power, he set a little way off a cup or basin full of water, and commanded the demon, as he went out of the man, to overturn it, and thereby to let the spectators know that he had left the man; and when this was done, the skill and wisdom of Solomon was shown very manifestly: for which reason it is, that all men may know the vastness of Solomon’s abilities, and how he was beloved of God, and that the extraordinary virtues of every kind with which this king was endowed may not be unknown to any people under the sun for this reason, I say, it is that we have proceeded to speak so largely of these matters.

A footnotes after the words “expels demons” states, “Some pretended fragments of these books of conjuration of Solomon are still extant…though I entirely differ from Josephus in this his supposal, that such books and arts of Solomon were parts of that wisdom which was imparted to him by God in his younger days; they must rather have belonged to such profane but curious arts…and had been derived from the idolatry and superstition of his heathen wives and concubines in his old age, when he had forsaken God, and God had forsaken him, and given him up to demoniacal delusions.”

Book XIII
16:2 …if some fatal demon hath a constant spite against Alexander’s house, they would be willing to bear their part, and to live in a private station there.

Against Apion
Book II
38 For certainly he neither betrayed their city to its enemies, nor was he guilty of any sacrilege with regard to any of their temples; but it was on this account, that he swore certain new oaths and that he affirmed either in earnest, or, as some say, only in jest, that a certain demon used to make signs to him [what he should not do].

The Wars of the Jews or the History of the Destruction of Jerusalem
Book VI
1:5 For what man of virtue is there who does not know, that those souls which are severed from their fleshly bodies in battles by the sword are received by the ether, that purest of elements, and joined to that company which are placed among the stars; that they become good demons, and propitious heroes, and show themselves as such to their posterity afterwards?

Book VII
6:3 Yet, after all this pains in getting, it is only valuable on account of one virtue it hath, that if it be only brought to sick persons, it quickly drives away those called demons, which are no other than the spirits of the wicked, that enter into men that are alive and kill them, unless they can obtain some help against them.

9:1 NOW as Eleazar was proceeding on in this exhortation, they all cut him off short, and made haste to do the work, as full of an unconquerable ardor of mind, and moved with a demoniacal fury.

In the next segment, we will consider paranormal Entities in the Babylonian Talmud aka Talmud Bavli.

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