Naming the Dark One: a “The Devil Left Him” Update

Books, Publishing

First off, there’s a new chapter up. It’s actually an old chapter, since I update on Tablo one chapter behind. So When I finished Chapter 5 this morning, I made Chapter 4 available. I do it that way because it feels good not to be behind my audience.

That means I have about 1, maybe 2 chapters to write, and the first draft will be finished. Then I’m going to give it a good, deep edit, then put it up on Amazon for the world to enjoy.

I’ve also added the new cover I showed in the last post:


And I’ve done something else, which has to do with the title of the post, and the title of the book. I’ve taken out every time in the text that “the Devil” is used, and replaced it with “the Satan”.

Wherefore did I so?

The word “devil” comes to us from the Greek, diabolos, which means “slanderer” or “accuser”. This makes it a rough translation of the Hebrew Shaitan, which also means  “accuser”. In the Hebrew texts of the old Testament, “satan” is usually preceded with a “ha-” indicating that the word is a title, rather than a name. Some English translations also reflect this.

This raises the question of whom the devil is accusing. We find our answer in the Book of Job, the first text in the Old Testament where the word “Satan” is used. In it, Satan argues with God that Job is not really righteous, only comfortable, and so God gives Satan permission to test Job. The Problem of Evil ensues.

Some traditions of Judaism thus regard Satan as an agent of God, whose purpose is to tempt and try men, to find the wickedness in them, and then accuse them to God. Christianity takes a different view, of Satan as a fallen archangel and lord of demons.

So because Yeshua bar Mariamme spoke no Greek (that we’re aware of), he likely never heard the word “Diabolos” in his life any more than he heard “Jesus” or “Christos” (both of which are Greek translations of his name and title). So replacing “Devil” with “Satan” serves the same Judiaizing verisimilitude as that of referring to Yeshua by name. Also, it lets me consider how I might toy with title vs. name in the climax.

Other names of the Devil:

  • Lucifer comes from a Latin translation of the Hebrew “Heylel”, meaning “morning star” or “Light-bringer”. The word appears in the Book of Isaiah, referencing either a Babylonian King, the Kingdom of Babylon itself, or a Canaanite deity. It is often used to reference the Devil before his fall.
  • Beelzebub is Hebrew for “Lord of the Flies” and is a pun on the name of a Philistine or Canaanite God. It is sometimes used to refer to the Devil, and sometimes to a lesser demon, as in Milton.
  • Mephistopheles is a demon from German folklore, usually as part of the Faust legend. The word either comes from Hebrew or Greek. It’s not usually intended to refer to the Devil, but an agent or representative.

Anyway, Enjoy!