How the Devil Got His Hooves and Horns: The Origin of the Motif and the Implied Demonology of 3 Baruch1

In: Numen
Alexander Kulik Department of German, Russian and East European Studies Faculty of Humanities The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Mt. Scopus, Jerusalem 91905 Israel

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This paper reexamines the problem of the origins of a popular medieval and modern image of the devil as an anthropomorphic creature with hooves and horns and seeks to reconstruct the analogous ancient image of a satyr-like devil as it could be witnessed in diverse sources, including Hellenistic mythology, rabbinic legends, and early Christian texts. It seems that, not belonging completely to any of these worlds, this therianthropic motif emerges from a complicated literary history wherein Greco-Roman Pan, Jewish seirim, and other mythological figures graft themselves and their imagery around the forces of the demonic. The main argument of the paper as a whole centers around the place of 3 Baruch in this complicated history. This composition may contain the only physical description and detailed treatment of demonic seirim-satyrs in early Jewish literature and the earliest notion of satyr-like demons available to us.

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