It is frequently considered that the myth of the fallen of the “highiest” angel known under the personal expression “Lucifer” is founded in the Middle Age. Between the Xth and XIIIth centuries, all religious currents seem preoccupied by celestial hierarchy. Compared to islamic theology, jewish mysticism and others cultural movements, christian thinking about these questions was not really established. We traditionaly advance that this doctrine is fully formulated by Anselm. But it was enormously influenced by unorthodox currents (as Bogomils and Cathars). The main impulsion before them is surely Dionysius the Areopagyte, in the context of very serious polemics about angelic nature and metaphysical questions concerning the degrees of being. It is explained in detail by Jeffrey B. Russel (Lucifer. The devil in the Middle Age, 1984, Cornell University Press).
My early work, in 2006, tries to remind the story of the doctrine which associated two biblical verses, Isaiah 14:12 and Ezekiel 28:12 and following verses. J. F. Russel, in his Introduction, confirms the kinship of this point to Origen and Clement of Alexandria. It’s on their interpretation that we might discuss about the building of this myth.
Which is the “hardware" that will constitute, in the time, the myth of Lucifer?
quomodo cecidisti de caelo lucifer qui mane oriebaris corruisti in terram qui vulnerabas gentes
Latin text on Bibliotheca Augustana
English translation of this passage of the Vulgate (Stuttgart edition): "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, who didst rise in the morning? how art thou fallen to the earth, that didst wound the nations? "
The American Standard Version (1901): "14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O day-star, son of the morning!"
The Revised Standard Version: ""How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn!"
(I think these versions don't translate from the Vulgate but they seem to be established from the Septuagint for the ASV and from the hebrew for the RSV)
Ezekiel 28:12 and following (latin text - english text)
I didn’t compare all the recensions of St Jerome work (he began his work during the IVth century, but the text has been subject of many little changes till the XVth century), and I don’t think there is some great differences. However, I think that we have to verify what the old latin versions offer (these texts are not easy to get).
Concerning the latin expression «lucifer», we can find two meanings in the whole ancient roman literature:
a) lucifer: all that is shining, brighting with powerfull, on the model of the «morning star», the planet Venus
example: Vitruvius Pollio, De Architectura book 9, chapter 1, section 7
Id autem ita esse maxime cognoscitur ex Veneris stella, quod ea, cum solem sequatur, post occasum eius apparens in caelo clarissimeque lucens vesperugo vocitatur, aliis autem temporibus eum antecurrens et oriens ante lucem lucifer appellatur. (3.79)
This fact may best be recognized from Venus. When she is following the sun, she makes her appearance in the sky after his setting, and is then called the Evening Star, shining most brilliantly. At other times she precedes him, rising before daybreak, and is named the Morning Star.
(these texts are avalaible online on Perseus website: latin version and english transl.)
b) Lucifer as a personal name, a minor deity of the pantheon.
example: Ovidius Naso, Metamorphoses (ed. Hugo Magnus) book 4, line 627
Iamque cadente die, veritus se credere nocti,
constitit Hesperio, regnis Atlantis, in orbe,
exiguamque petit requiem, dum Lucifer ignes
evocet Aurorae, currus Aurora diurnos.
Time came, when day
declining, he began to fear the night,
by which he stopped his flight far in the west—
the realm of Atlas—where he sought repose
till Lucifer might call Aurora's fires;
Aurora chariot of the Day.
I agree with Edouard Dhorme who wrote, in the footnotes of his OT translation, that this “lucifer" has been assimilated with the demon of the star Venus. As we will see, the noun “lucifer" occurs in some other places of the Bible, and it seems evident that on Isaiah 14:12 there was a real work of “demonization" from the part of earlier Fathers of Christianism.
The “tradition” says that 72 rabbis wrote each one a greek translation of the Old Testament; and the legend says that the 72 translations were exactly identics...
πως εξεπεσεν εκ του ουρανου ο εωσφορος ο πρωι ανατελλων συνετριβη εις την γην ο αποστελλων προς παντα τα εθνη
pōs exepesen ek tou ouranou o eōsphoros o prōi anatengōn sunetribē eis tēn gēn o apostengōn pros panta ta ethnē
the new academic translation published by Oxfor University Press: "How is fallen from heaven the Day Star, which used to rise early in the morning!"
see also Ezekiel 28:12
Here we have the same thing that in the Vulgate, but there are some few differences:
-it is clear that the word is used as a common name, and not as a personal; the expression means “you who’s shining” and is not adressed to the deity known as “ ‘Eosphoros”; it’s just a comparison, not an identification.
-the decomposition luci - fere is corresponding to the greek eos - phoros, but the parallelism is not fully exact : the greek eos means dawn, while the latin lux means light. However, we must note that greek vocabulary knows the expression phos - phoros which is a synonym and is corresponding exactly to the latin lucifer.
-as in the roman cultur, greek mythology knows an astral deity named ‘Eosphoros
Hesiod, Theogony card 371
tous de met' astera tikten Heôsphoron Êrigeneia
astra te lampetoônta, ta t' ouranos estephanôtai.
And after these Erigeneia1 bare the star Eosphorus （Dawn-bringer）, and the gleaming stars with which heaven is crowned.
with an another form:
Pindar, Odes, Isthmian book I., poem 4, line 23
all' anegeiromena chrôta lampei,
Aôsphoros thaêtos hôs astrois en allois:
english translation: For she had fallen asleep, but now she has awakened and her body shines, marvellous to see, like the morning-star among other stars.
Plato, Laws book 7, section 821c
Kleinias en gar dê tôi biôi pollakis heôraka kai autos ton te Heôsphoron kai ton Hesperon kai allous tinas oudepote iontas eis ton auton dromon alla pantêi planômenous, ton de hêlion pou kai selênên drôntas tauth' ha aei pantes sunepistametha.
3) hebraïcal versions.
Here will begin the difficulties. There are two important textual traditions: the Dead Sea Scrolls (II BCE - II CE) and the Massoretic text (near the 8th century CE)
Isaiah 14,12 (Massorah)
איך נפלת משמים הילל בן_שחר
נגדעת לארץ חולש על גוים
AYK NPLT MSMYM HYLL BN SJR NGDIT LARC JVLS IL GVYM: (Is 14,12) (J= Heth; S= Shin; I= 'Ain)
Here, the expression ”ben shahar“ seems to be connected with other semitic culturs, where Shahar is known as the Goddess of the Dawn (the hebrew word shahar means dawn). In the Bible, there is no other occurence of a hyll or a bn shr. They are some occurences of a hyll as deity in cuneiform texts, but it doesn’t seem to be an important figure of the divine pantheon. In this text of Isaiah, it’s clear that hyll bn shr is a kind of satirical mockery about the King of Babylon, who is only a human and sins because of his pride and blasphemous attitude while he proclaims he is equal to God. It is as if the writer said ”ha ha ha!! what a shame on you, poor Shining Star who felt dawn on the ground, at the feet of all nations!“
Concerning the text of Ezekiel, here too, the connection with ugaritic cultur is evident:
-the mountain of God can be connected with the mountain of the Assembly (of Gods), the mount ”Saphon“
-the figure of the Cherubim : it is known that angelical orders came from mythological examples, like the Keroub or the Saraf; they are frequently associated with firing and/or brighting phenomenons (see also God’s manifestation to Moses in the burning Tree)
-the allusion to the jewelry of the Prince of Tyr, reminding those of priests of Israel and other hierophants (this point is also applied in some descriptions of Ishtar, as we’ll see later).
These elements (and others), with the effect of time, will give the first matter to the confusion. But there is an other important point concerning Ezekiel : what is said in the Septuagint is not the same story which is related in the massoretic version. The main scene is the same. In the Septuagint, there is a distinction between the Prince/King of Tyr and the Keroub, while the Massoretic text said: ”You where the Keroub [...] I hunted you, Keroub“ etc... There are other difficulties, I won’t expose them in details; just a word about the legendar knowledge of ”Lucifer“; this point is inspired by the text of Ezekiel, while the wisdom of the Prince is compared to Daniel’s. We traditionaly believe that the writer was talking about the prophet Daniel, but it could be wrong; it would be preferable to consider that the text, actualy, is talking about ”Danel“ (we can read this or this for more informations) - and not Daniel - who was a famous wise man in ancient literature of the Near East (Dhorme has probably said it, but I’m not sure). But on this point of confusion, Septuagint and Massorah versions are equals (the Zadok Kahn's translation of the Massorah into french gives ”Daniel“).
Hebrew text (Massorah)
the hebrew HYLL occurs only in Isaiah 14:12
the hebrew ShHR (”dawn“ - shin heth resh) occurs
Genesis 32:25, 27
Levitic 13:31, 37
Joshua 6:15 - 13:19
1 Samuel 9:26
Isaiah 8:20 - 14:12 - 23:3 - 47:11 - 58:8
Hosea 6:3 - 10:25
Psalms 22:1 - 57:8 - 108:2 - 110:3 - 139:9
Proverbs 7:15 - 11:27
Job 3:9 - 8:5 - 30:30 - 38:12 - 41:10
1 Chronicles 7:10 (see also, perhaps, 8:8)
(I’ll give a more complete list later; note that the hebrew Psalms 110 chap. corresponds to the 109 chap. of the Vulgate)
The greek text
We find eosphoros in :
1 Samuel 30:17
Job 3:9 - 11:17 - 38:12 - 41:10
Psalms 109:3 (hebrew => 110:3)
In 1 Samuel 30:17, the word seems to be translated ”twilight“ and no ”dawn“. In other occurences, the word seems to correspond with the hebrew ”shahar“ (and here we can see the difficulty concerning Isaiah 14,12 where eosphoros doesn’t translate shahar but hyll according to the major part of specialists; I tried to resolve this point in 2006 but I’m not enough advanced to do it well).
The latin text
Concerning the Old Testament, we find lucifer in:
Job 11:17 - 38:32
Concerning the New Testament, we find lucifer in:
II Peter 1:19
We can make a comparison between Isaiah 14:12 and II Peter 1:19. Here, lucifer is used as subject; and I still wondering why St Jerome didn’t translate ”Lucifer“ in II Peter 1:19 as he did in Isaiah 14:12. This point constitute, for me, a sufficient argument to reject the common interpretation that supports the myth of Lucifer is well founded in the Bible. I thank you by advance if someone can propose a good explaination...
But there are other points. Can someone tell me who said ”sicut et ego accepi a Patre meo et dabo illi stellam matutinam” (As I also have received of my Father. And I will give him the morning-star Rev. 2:28)?
Or again: “ego Iesus misi angelum meum testificari vobis haec in ecclesiis ego sum radix et genus David stella splendida et matutina” (I, Jesus, have sent my angel, to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the root and stock of David, the bright and morning star Rev 28:16)?
Probably a kind of fool or an anarchist (hu hu ... I beg you to forgive me, but I couldn’t resist to this temptation). More seriously, we can affirm that Isaiah and Ezekiel are talking to a single human, assimilated to an angelic being, but foremost a human.
I don’t agree with the interpretation that says that here, the Bible is talking about a Lucifer as a Devil and master of rebel angels. But I think it is evident that the writers wanted to draw our attention to the tyrant. And, before the Bible writings, there is a myth which describes the same drawing of our luciferian myth. We can read in the Baal Epic:
Lady Asherah of the Sea declares:
"Let Us make Ashtar the Terrible king!
Let Ashtar the Terrible reign!"
Thereupon Ashtar the Terrible
Goes into the heights of Saphon
That He may sit on the throne of Aliyan Baal.
His feet do not reach the footstool,
Nor does His head reach it's top.
And Ashtar the Terrible says:
"I cannot rule in the heights of Saphon!"
Ashtar the Terrible goes down,
Goes down from the throne of Aliyan Baal,
That He may rule over all the grand earth.
note: I prefer the transliteration 'Athtart - Theurapon the Tyrant given by the Dictionary of Deities and Demons in The Bible and yet discussed in the works of Edouard Dhorme in the 50‘s.
This myth is the archetype of cosmic rebellion myths in oriental, greek and roman literature. We can evidently make the comparison Baal vs Athtar // Yavhe vs King of Babylon/Tyr (note that the epithet “Aliyan” is very near of the “El Elyon” denomination in Exodus, while Moses met the Priests of Madian).
The Ugaritic texts:
-In KTU 1.24: 41-42 it is question of a hyll as a “Brightning Lord Of the Moon Rising”; but there is nothing else fery significant
-In an other tablet, there is a story about Anat; she’s guest on the Roof of the Sky in the aim to smash the stars (a “march” is mentionned just before; and don’t know why its reminds me the StarWars Luc Skywalker...). These stars are destinated to fall like bricks and are personified as “The Stongs”, described as “very brighting” (taqqîp, also meaning “strong” in aramaic).
This last point could confirm the position of Edouard Dhorme in his footnotes of Ezekiel 28:2-20, explaining the text is talking about the city as personified. I’ve read in other works the same idea: a kind of metaphor of a geopolitical situation. In the Ancient Near East, cities were like little kingdoms. Sometimes, one of them “shone” like the brightest star among all, pointing in the sky: Venus, the one that “heralds” the rising sun. We can replace this scheme in History with Tyr and Babylon at the time of Ezekiel and Isaiah. Since my last publication (2006), I’ve found a sumerian text, The Cursing of Agade; I was deeply interested by the proximity of the tone of the text with Isaiah 14:12. (Note: Inanna is the sumerian name of Ishtar / Aphroditê / Venus). By associating Agade with its patron deity, Innana, and the destruction of the town with the Enlil’s wrath, there are many similarities. We could talk again about the Gutean invaders as tools of heaven’ scourge (I noted that the word Guti has a phonic proximity with the german Gott; they were reputed to ignore the fear and the authority. I’m not linguist, this point must to be studied more deeply).
There is again another track, perhaps the more significant, concerning a cult render to a Baal of Hermon, but I didn’t yet work on it. This point is mentionned in an apocryphal text (gnosticism, judaïcal mystic currents etc...).
Concerning the apocryphal literature, it has frequently been called as justifying the work of early Fathers. I take this opportunity to make a correction. G. J. Riley, in the article “Devil” of the DDD, refers to II Henoch 39 :4-5 ; it is probably a mistake during the editing because nothing in these verses can explain Riley’s words. It's in the verses 1 and 2 of the same text that there are some elements that can be linked with Ezekiel chap. 28. At the Creation, after extracting “some great stones” from the waters (Ez 28:1), God brought forth “a great fire”, from which He makes “the militia of intangibles and the whole stars militia. “And the Cherubim and the Seraphim and the Ophanim, all of that, I brought it forth from fire”. Here, the kinship between stars and angels is indubitable.
There are surely a full of examples that could confirm the two position in apocryphal texts; last week, I curiously found an other interesting element. In II Henoch again (also known as the Book of Henoch Secrets, or sometimes as the “Slavic Henoch”), it is said that each morning, God orders the sun to rise up:
give Light to the universe!”
This expression (“provider of Light”, “Dispensateur de la lumiere” in french) sounds like a literal translation of the latin luci - fere or the greek phos - phoros. It can be linked to an other passage of the Greek Revelation of Baruch (also known as III Baruch): each evening, four angels take the crown of the sun in the aim to purify it. I haven’t got the exact references, but I’ll try to find them. As I said in “Presentations” I’m very openmind, but I’m still searching where is evil here...
A last word about II Peter 1:19. For this verse, the Septuagint gives phosphoros anateile. It has been an other point of confusion, in the christian thinking as for those satanists called ”luciferians“ whom I discussed on the web, and even for modern writers as M. Centini (presented as ”graduated in Anthropology“), who affirms that the greek version of Isaiah 14:12 gives ”phosphoros“. It shows me that gazoil is not good to drink... sorry for this poor joke. I was wondering for a long time why they affirm a so stupid thing. A luciferian priestess told me that, among greek mysteries, they was one where the ceremonies were given around a Hecatê - Phosphoros, and that christianism took this and built the myth... The first part of her words is not strong, but I find no element that could confirm the second part.
I think that the building of this myth has no theoligical reasons, but political and ideological. Inanna / Ishtar / Astarté / Aphroditê / Venus was evidently a concurent. The cults render to this goddess were the most widespread. In Religions of Babylon and Assyria, Dhorme gives us very interesting informations. Ishtar was known as the Lady of Heaven, the Brightest Star. She was sometimes called “The Brilliant”. She identifies herself as the morning and evening star:
Ishtar at the evening: it’s me!”
As for other deities, there were several attributes for a same divine being; Ishtar had a male attribute, and in the time, her manhood has been mixed with into her warriors attributes; it is not impossible that these attributes are in relation with the figure of 'Athtar the Tyrant, but we can not really affirm this position (it’s a difficult question concerning etymological roots), and I don’t think that the writers of Isaïe and Ezekiel wanted to identify Ishtar with Tyr and Babylon’s kings (however, it’s well known that several “kings” of the Ancient Near Esat identified themselves to a deity). We can find these warriors attributes in the figure of Diana the Hunter for example.
An other point could have contributed to the confusion: the Descent of Ishtar to the Netherworld; it has evidently inspired gnostic tradition as we can see it with The Descent of Christ to the Netherworld, and we can consider that has an echo into the fallen of the Star into the Sheol of Isaiah 14:12.
Some common points between priestly clothes and Ezekiel 28:13 were underlined by Dhorme. Sometimes, Ishtar wears “a splendid crown”, "earnings", "a pearl necklace", "an ornemental pectoral" a "birthstone" belt, bracelets on the wrists and ankles.