Dualismus, Dämonologie und diabolische Figuren

Published in German.  Dualistic worldviews and demonic or devilish figures make frequent and varied appearances in both early Jewish and early Christian texts. By setting out the background and charting the development of these notions in Second Temple Judaism, this volume explains New Testament traditions within early Jewish contexts, focusing on issues of the origins of evil and its eschatological removal, the role of eschatological opponents and the function of demons. Textually, the Dead Sea Scrolls and other Second Temple texts are highlighted alongside the Jesus tradition. Four concluding contributions reflect the place of demonological ideas in present theological thought and problems of handling them in church practice.

The link above also directs readers to the TOC and a reading sample.  Accordingly, readers here are asked to visit that link in order to get an appreciation for the origin, aim, and contents of the work.

The four divisions of the work follow a chronological sequence of sorts, beginning with the historical and theological problems inherent in any dualistic system.  These two introductory essays are followed by 7 essays related to the subject of dualism in early Judaism (or in ‘ancient’ Judaism).  And these 7 essays are followed in the third major division by 5 essays related to demonic and diabolical figures in early Christianity.

The fourth major division (wrongly numbered as section VI- which means the typesetter simply reversed two Roman numerals) attempts to offer, in 3 essays, a few theological reflections on the topics of dualism and demonology.  Various indices conclude the volume.

The essays all began life as contributions to a conference on the Qumran texts in 2013.  That of Frey is a wonderful summary of the New Testament’s ‘reception’ of dualistic notions.  And Popkes’ a very engaging examination of the exorcist (and Jesus as such).

Beyerle, Tigchelaar, and Heilig offer helpful insights into aspects of dualism in Judaism in general and in the Dead Sea Scrolls in particular.  Becker’s work on the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs and demonology is particularly interesting.  Meanwhile, Dochhorn and Collins focus our attention on Daniel.  In particular, they both offer perspectives on the ‘fall of Satan’, with Collins responding to Dochhorn’s interpretation of Dan 12.  Götte’s work serves as something of a bridge between the second and third divisions and is very well researched and presented.

Evans’ focus on the resurrection of Jesus, Grappe’s discussion of Jesus’ baptism and temptation, Hogeterp’s on the temptation narrative, Joas on Luke, and Balzer on the Apocryphon of John all move us forward in our understanding of these texts and their intricate connections with the communities from which they sprang.

Finally in section 4 (wrongly VI), we are treated to a discussion of Paul Tillich’s demonology (by Rosenau), a discussion of Protestant Dogmatics and demonology by David, and the significance of demonic power in dreams and their interpretation by Schult.

The sum and substance of this volume is the fascinating topic of demons and demonology and the dualism from which a system of thought which includes such beings must originate.  As such it is a wonderful collection of thought provoking papers sure to engage and stimulate even the most skeptical reader.  I recommend it as happily as I recommend ‘Lucifer’ with Tom Ellis on Fox Television.  And that particular series I recommend with great joy.

Indeed, my suspicion is that if another conference is organized which discusses such dark and dank and dreadful demonic creatures, then ‘Lucifer’ as pop-culture representation of the demonic surely must be included.

Until that happens, enjoy this volume.