Contrasting Demonologies in the Ancient World
The Sumerians and Babylonians invented an elaborate demonology. They believed that the world was full of spirits and that most of them were hostile. Each person had a tutelary spirit to protect him from demonic enemies. Against such enemies every kind of magic was needed, including amulets, incantations, and exorcisms, but especially the protection of the tutelary deity, for “the man who hath not a god as he walketh in the street the demon covers him as a garment.”
The worldview of ancient Egypt was less terrifying. Gods and spirits were all part of the one living cosmos and no distinction was made between natural and supernatural. The sorcerer used his wisdom and knowledge of amulets, spells, formulae, and figures to bend the cosmic powers to his purpose or that of his clients. As all spirits were part of the cosmic whole, none was evil, but the sorcerer could turn spiritual powers in ways that could harm his adversaries as well as benefitting himself.
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