Demonology is the systematic study of demons or beliefs about demons. It is the branch of theology relating to supernatural beings who are not gods.It deals both with benevolent beings that have no circle of worshippers or so limited a circle as to be below the rank of gods, and with malevolent beings of all kinds. The original sense of “demon”, from the time of Homer onward, was a benevolent being, but in English the name now holds connotations of malevolence. (In order to keep the distinction, when referring to the word in its original Greek meaning English uses the spelling “Daemon” or “Daimon”.)
Demons, when regarded as spirits, may belong to either of the classes of spirits recognized by primitive animism; that is to say, they may be human, or non-human, separable souls, or discarnate spirits which have never inhabited a body. A sharp distinction is often drawn between these two classes, notably by the Melanesians, several African groups, and others; the Arab jinn, for example, are not reducible to modified human souls; at the same time these classes are frequently conceived as producing identical results, e.g. diseases.
The word demonology is from Greek δαίμooν, daimōn, “divinity, divine power,
Prevalence of demons
According to some societies, all the affairs of life are supposed to be under the control of spirits, each ruling a certain “element” or even object, and themselves in subjection to a greater spirit. For example, the Inuit are said to believe in spirits of the sea, earth and sky, the winds, the clouds and everything in nature. Every cove of the seashore, every point, every island and prominent rock has its guardian spirit. All are potentially of the malignant type, to be propitiated by an appeal to knowledge of the supernatural.Traditional Korean belief posits countless demons inhabit the natural world; they fill household objects and are present in all locations. By the thousands they accompany travelers, seeking them out from their places in the elements.
In ancient Babylon, demonology had an influence on even the most mundane elements of life, from petty annoyances to the emotions of love and hatred. The numerous demonic spirits were given charge over various parts of the human body, one for the head, one for the neck, and so on.
Greek philosophers such as Porphyry, who claimed influence from Platonism, and the fathers of the Christian Church, held that the world was pervaded with spirits, the latter of whom advanced the belief that demons received the worship directed at pagan gods.
Many religions and cultures believe, or once believed, that what is now known as soothsaying, was, or is, a form of physical contact with demons.
Character of the spiritual world
The ascription of malevolence to the world of spirits is by no means universal. In Central Africa, the Mpongwe believe in local spirits, just as do the Inuit; but they are regarded as inoffensive in the main. Passers-by must make some trifling offering as they near the spirits’ place of abode; but it is only occasionally mischievous acts, such as the throwing down of a tree on a passer-by, are, in the view of the natives, perpetuated by the class of spirits known as Ombuiri. So too, many of the spirits especially concerned with the operations of nature are conceived as neutral or even benevolent; the European peasant fears the corn-spirit only when he irritates him by trenching on his domain and taking his property by cutting the corn;