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From: "Alex David Groce" <adgroce@eos.ncsu.edu>
Subject: Re: (urth) Re: Digest urth.v019.n026
Date: Thu, 22 Oct 1998 12:49:41 

Mark Millman wrote:
> A good example of a being mentioned in contrast
> to God in the Torah is Azazel (in Leviticus 16, as
> part of the discussion of atonement ritual).  The so-
> called scapegoat is a mistranslation; the Hebrew
> phrase "goat for Azazel" is somewhat similar to
> "the goat that departs or escapes", and was so
> rendered by William Tyndale in his 1530 Bible
> translation.  The goat for Azazel was released into
> the desert carrying the sins of the people; I belive
> that Azazel was then supposed to consume it in
> some fashion.  So while Azazel gets pretty short
> shrift, it does seem that he (a) has a function; (b)
> has enough substance or capability to exercise it;
> and (c) consumes sin.  I don't know whether either
> ancient or modern opinion holds that the consump-
> tion of sin implies that Azazel may be evil (i.e., be-
> ing evil, Azazel must feed on evil), however.

	Ah.  It's Azazel I was trying to think of--a most mysterious being.  I
don't know a lot about the ancient context, but I know Azazel now is usually
used as a symbol of evil.  For instance, read Walker Percy's "The Thanatos
Syndrome."  If I'm correct, either that mention or later discussion talks of
the place where Azazel dwelt as the ultimate waste, barren and (fairly
literally) God-forsaken.  I think Azazel is definitely represented as a real,
alien entity (to men), and there is at least an implication of evil.
"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." - John 8:32
Alex David Groce (adgroce@eos.ncsu.edu)
Senior (Computer Science/Multidisciplinary Studies in Technology & Fiction)
'98-99 NCSU AITP Student Chapter President
608 Charleston Road, Apt. 1E (919)-233-7366

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