Demons in Tertullian’s Spectacles and Prayer and Epistle of Barnabas

Herein we continue, from part 1, considering Demons within texts generally termed the Apocrypha, Deutero Canonical, Pseudepigrapha, Gnostic Texts, etc. (see my article on the Apocrypha here).

Herein we continue, from part 1, considering Demons within texts generally termed the Apocrypha, Deutero Canonical, Pseudepigrapha, Gnostic Texts, etc. (see my article on the Apocrypha here). 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 in general and in apocryphal texts here. See my section on Cherubim and Seraphim in general and in apocryphal texts here and Satan in apocryphal texts here.

Demons in Tertullian’s Spectacles and Prayer and Epistle of Barnabas.

Spectacles by Tertullian – 197-220 AD
7 Moreover, how many sacred rites are observed, how many sacrifices offered at the beginning, in the course, and at the end of the procession, how many religious corporations, furthermore, how many priesthoods, how many bodies of magistrates are called upon to march in it–each is known to the inhabitants of that city where all the demons have gathered and taken up their abode.

8 Plainly, the sorceress undoubtedly transacted the business in behalf of those whose priestess she was, namely, the demons and evil spirits…The gathering of the demons would be dull without their Great Mother, so she presides there over the ditch.

9 But when this skill was pressed into the service of the games, it was changed from a gift God into an instrument of the demons…This Erichthonius, a son of Minerva and Vulcan, fruit of lust, in truth, that fell to Earth, is a demon-monster, or, rather, the Devil himself, not a mere snake.

10 The two demons of lust and drunkenness have banded together in sworn confederacy…We know that the names of dead men are nothing, even as their images are nothing. But we are not unaware of the identity of those who are at work behind those displayed names and images, who exult in the homage paid to them and pretend to be divine, namely, the evil spirits, the demons…the demons, from the very beginning looking out for themselves contrived, along with the other foul practices of idolatry…For no one else but the demons would have contrived what was going to redound to their advantage, nor would they have produced the arts at that time through the agency of anyone except those very men in whose names and images and fables they accomplished the fraud of consecration which would work out to their advantage.

12 It is, furthermore, in the images of the dead that the demons have their abode…For the purple robes, the fasces, the fillets, and crowns–finally, also, the announcements made in meeting and on posters, and the pottage dinners given on the eve of exhibitions–do not lack the pomp of the Devil and the invocation of demons…For the amphitheater is consecrated to names more numerous and more dreadful than the Capitol, temple of all demons as it is.

13 ‘Not that an idol is anything,’ as the Apostle says, ‘but because what they do, they do in honor of demons’ who take up their abode there at the consecration of idols, whether of the dead, or, as they think, of gods…Nor do we eat of what is sacrificed, or offered at funeral rites, because ‘we cannot share the Lord’s supper and the supper of demons.’

26 Why, then, should such people not also be susceptible to demoniac possession? For we have the case of that woman–the Lord is witness–who went to the theater and returned home having a demon.

29 To trample under foot the gods of the heathen, to drive out demons, to effect cures, to seek revelations, to live unto God –these are the pleasures, these are the spectacles of the Christians, holy, everlasting, and free of charge.

Prayer by Tertullian – 197-220 AD
17 ‘Even the speechless I hear, and the silent petition I answer.’ So runs an oracle of the Pythian demon.

29 Therefore, it has no power except to recall the souls of the dead from the very path of death, to make the weak recover, to heal the sick, to exorcise demons, to open prison doors, to loosen the chains of the innocent.

Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians – 2nd century AD
3 The latter, coming to the throne when eight years old cast down the altars and temples [of the idols], and burned down the groves, for they were dedicated to demons, and not to God.

Epistle of Barnabas – 80-120 AD
XVI For it was full of idolatry, and was a habitation of demons, through our doing such things as were opposed to [the will of] God.

In the next segment, we will consider Letters of Herod and Pilate, Connecting Roman History with the Death of Christ at Jerusalem, Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew aka Gospel of the Birth of Mary, Arabic Gospel of the Infancy of the Saviour and Book of Jubilees.


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