Friday, 24 May 2019

Emmanouela Grypeou: Demons of the Underworld in Cyril of Alexandria’s Hom 14, De exitu animi

This spurious homily attributed to Cyril of Alexandria offers a graphic description of afterlife and especially of hell punishments involving an intriguing and varied line-up of judging angels and punishing demons. More specifically, this text offers a compendium of theological and popular views and imagery regarding the nature and function, nomenclature, appearance as well as the hierarchy of demonic beings operating in afterlife. Proposed paper will focus on the demonological ideas developed in this homily against the background of related ideas about demons of the underworld as found primarily in the late antique apocalyptic tradition. As I have argued in previous publications, the “demons of the underworld” present a motif, which have been developed gradually and is of a relatively later dating in Christian apocalyptic literature. Accordingly, a study of the afterlife demonology in this homily would be conclusive regarding questions of provenance and dating of the text as well as of authorship.Finally, the paper will investigate the biblical background of the homily and the use of biblical citations for the development of the description of hell and its demons.

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