1. ShadowKyogre
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    ShadowKyogre Member

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    Demon reputation in Earth Religions? (prime candidates are ancient Egyptian myths...)

    Discussion in 'Research' started by ShadowKyogre, Aug 7, 2009.

    Okay, now that I've decided to tackle this much more slowly (and a thank you to whoever deleted the thread I made after emptying out the first post).

    Considering that the main character is a demon (her father and his "buddy" caught the attention of Lucifer), I looked at a few religions' POVs on their demons. (considering this is 5000 years ago, religion will play a big role in the story)

    Putting together the fact that Lucifer is directly involved in it and her father's "buddy" is hellbent on making her life miserable via torture, the said person would probably place the MC in a city/town/village where Judaism is prominent (not discriminating here, but it seems that all demons are evil in that religion and it would mean less effort for her father's "buddy").

    Compared to Egyptian mythology, demons aren't all evil. They were rather helpful. (and I'm not sure if the people who believed in Judaism were subjects of Egyptian rule, I might've gotten my assumption that they are completely maimed).

    So, 5000 years ago, was the only religion that was vehemently against demons Judaism?
     
  2. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Problem is that there weren't many "big" religions that long ago. Hinduism, one of the worlds oldest existing religions, can't be dated back further than 2000 BC.

    As far back as 5000 years ago, humans mostly lived in tribes and religion was often a local thing. The Egyptians were an exception, but even they could not agree to just one view on religion and huge, radical changes were made from one dynasty to the next. Judaism wasn't a religion at the time, in the jewish sense, until Abraham. Consider it more a collection of local folk lore, later adapted into one unifying religion, and often altered dramatically in the process. Most demons as we know them today hail from this folk lore, but were considered gods at the time, demonized in the name of PR.

    I don't believe that many religions from 5000 years ago will be visible to us today without the heavy modifications they've gone under, before they were recorded much later in history. My point is this: Any ancient demon name you dig up could as well have been a god or idol at the time of your story, and thus you'd undermine the credibility of your story by using them as demons.

    On the plus side, nobody really knows. Make up your own demons, since most ancient societies embraced the general idea of evil spirits tampering with human life.
     
  3. JavaMan
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    JavaMan Senior Member

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    An interesting point to start research on would be the definition of "demon." If memory serves, it is based on a Greek word which basically means any type of spirit - good, bad, or neutral. Socrates said that he had his own "daemon" which was actually a good one.

    Also, many ancient cultures saw the evil dieties as evil in the way that they were principles of things like chaos, death, or trickery. They were often thought as a nessicary evil, not a form of Arch-Evil itself that had to be defeated in on way or another.

    More specifically, the Book of Job gives clear evidence of a defintion of Evil as something that is used by God the same way that an angel might be. It can be argued that the Devil in the BoJ was just trying to prove a point to God, rather than trying to be completely malicious. Kinda like the prosecuter in a courtroom; the Devil is often reffered to as "The Accuser."
     
  4. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Your memory serves you well :) A daemon in the original greek sense is simply a non-god with supernatural powers.

    Genies for example, are a type of demons but they can be good as well as bad. In modern language, the term demon is generally seen as evil beings though, and mention of good demons would cause confusion. Blame the medieval demonology for that.
     
  5. JavaMan
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    JavaMan Senior Member

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    one more small point: It would be highly adviseable to research the origins of names such as lucifer, devil, etc. More or less in Christianity they are considered the same thing. However, if you were to go back a few thousand years, you'd see that the names often referred to different entities or priciples, which may or may not have been arch-evils.

    For example, it can be said that "Satan" comes from an Egyptian title for Set, the god of chaos and destruction - "Shaitan". Before Egypt was united into one kingdom (and, I beleive before the pyramids were built) the South Kingdom did not view Set as evil - at least not in an absolute mega-villian sense.
     
  6. ShadowKyogre
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    ShadowKyogre Member

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    @HorusEye: Probably I should set the story a few thousand years forward then. And I sort of know that the present demons we know were gods at the time, so it would probably confuse the main character with the double standards she's being told?

    I suppose then that the story would have to be at a point in time where believers of the Egyptian religion and Judaism would be close to each other (as early back in time as possible).

    I'll also keep in mind to research the origins of any names of ancient demons I might want to use before writing.

    @JavaMan: Since the Devil is a sort of accuser in the court room, that would mean that even though the MC's father's "buddy" meant all of the things happening to be of ill intent, it could also be allowed by the Devil and God as a test of the people's willingness to not stereotype?

    *takes note of needing to research the origins of Lucifer (as a name), devil, etc*
     
  7. JavaMan
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    JavaMan Senior Member

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    Shadow, I suppose it could very well go that way. A person may think of Lucifer as an accuser - if they are a beleiver in some form of traditional Judaism. Most Christains would not see it the same way.

    The idea of being tested by God, especially in the Abrahamic faiths, is a popular theme. Most people would say that the Book of Job is entirely based on such a test.

    I think the main thing that Horus and I are really stressing is that using the name Lucifer will undoubtably have all sorts of innaccurate connotations/denotations applied to it if used in a historic sense. If it was me writing this story (and it's not, so do what you think is best) I would seriously consider using a timeframe/cultural definiton of this evil - with possible parellels to modern-day religion....

    Some readers love little tidbits like that in the books that they are reading.

    Just my two Lincolns.
     
  8. ShadowKyogre
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    ShadowKyogre Member

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    *gets a light bulb* Lucifer could still be testing humanity for malicious purposes (since the MC's father is not a traditional demon, possibly for seeing how people would react to a demon that isn't "normal"), like a mad scientist or a psycho looking for new ideas would.

    He could view it as, "I can get away with it since I'm also testing humanity on stereotyping at the same time!"

    And I was thinking that Lucifer might have a decoy almost exactly like him and sends him to do whatever he needs to do while he could stay back and start thinking of ideas (just my thoughts on how could he get away with such things). I also thought that Lucifer could also recognize that so many people call him different names, so he just answers them by that (of course, he won't answer to names completely unrelated to him).
     
  9. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Judaism back then really isn't what it is now. It really was only just beginning to form. If there is any truth to the bible, the Hebrews only came to Egypt a little more than 3500 yeras ago. Before that, they were still a little farther east.
    I was double-checking my info and came across this link, which might be helpful to you.
    http://www.simpletoremember.com/articles/a/abraham-bible/
     
  10. ShadowKyogre
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    ShadowKyogre Member

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    Ah, okay. So a reasonable leap forward (in era terms) for the story would be +1500 years, correct?
     
  11. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Depends on how you want to view the history. If you want to follow the biblical perspective, maybe a little before that unless you want to include the slavery aspect. If you want to look at what is documented, that's a fair time, because there is little to show that there was a semetic group enslaved by Egypt. Even if there were Hebrews helping to build the cities, they were probably not slaves. They were skilled workers.
     
  12. ShadowKyogre
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    ShadowKyogre Member

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    Hm...I'm thinking of including the slavery aspect (since it's highly unlikely for the MC to run around asking for directions to Egypt) as to how she got to Egypt (because the village she was residing in was captured or something along those lines, a few of the Egyptians pluck her out of the whole because she's a demon).

    But if I choose to disclude the slavery aspect, that's probably the one where the MC runs around asking for directions as a means for escape from whatever village she was currently in. I'm not sure if her presence in Egypt would be a distraction for said skilled workers, but I don't know if that's major though.
     
  13. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    You can really do it however you want as long as your audience understands it's not meant to represent any particular history that is documented, religious or otherwise. But there should still be some grain of historical reality to keep it grounded. If you learn all you can about the cultures of the time, and make them as real as possible, that should be able to ground it.
     
  14. ShadowKyogre
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    ShadowKyogre Member

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    Ah, okay. Thank you very much. :)
     

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