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From: Michael Straight <straight@email.unc.edu>
Subject: Re: (urth) Re: Digest urth.v019.n026
Date: Thu, 22 Oct 1998 17:17:05 

On Wed, 21 Oct 1998, Peter T. Cash wrote:

> Actually, I'd be very interested in learning more about that. Where would
> one look to find supernatural evil in Judaism? I'm not sure I can find it in
> the Old Testament, though it's present in the New. 

Is it only in Christian tradition that Daniel 10 is interpreted as
evidence of supernatural battles between good angels and evil angels?

Daniel has a vision of an angelic being who says to him:

"Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart
to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were
heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of
Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the
chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of
Persia" (Daniel 10:12-13, KJV). 

I know some Christian traditions interpret these "princes" as supernatural
beings (I think this is the passage from which some Charismatics get the
concept of "territorial spirits"), but I don't know if this counts as an
example of Jewish belief in supernatural evil or if that interpretation
only comes along with Christian cosmology.

Now that I think about it, there is another example.

In Genesis 6:4 where it talks about "sons of God" bearing children with
"daughters of men" there was, before the Christian era, a Jewish tradition
that these "sons of God" were evil spirits and that it was by way of these
evil spirits (rather than from some "original sin" of Adam, an idea that I
don't think really took hold until St. Augustine) that evil entered the
human race.   I'm afraid the only citation I have for this is a passing
mention in an essay on the doctrine of original sin.

In both these examples, of course, evil spirits are subordinate to God
("sons of God", fighting God's agents rather than God himself), so they do
not appear to be instances of dualism in Jewish thought. 


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