PM3005: Etymology of the word demon

The term demon originally derives from anicent Greek daimon. In the ancient Greek religion, daimons were spirits which existed between the level of humans and the gods, and mediated between the two - carrying the prayers and sacrifices of humans to the gods, and carrying messages from the gods back down to humans. The Greeks believed there were both good daimons - calodaimons - and others were evil - cacodaimons. For example, in Plato's dialogue The Symposium, Socrates calls Love a daimon, by which he meant it was less than a god but greater than a human being. With the coming of Christianity, however, usage changed - the term daimon took on a decidely negative tone, being used to refer to evil spirits only. Spirits which were perceived as good were known instead by the term angels. However, a few Christian authors continued the original Greek meaning daimon, such as Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, who used the term daimon to refer to the angels of God.

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