Christian culture 基督教文化学刊

The Evolution of "Lucifer"

Author: LIU Boyun, Lecturer at Beijing Language and Culture University



“Lucifer” has often been regarded as the name of the Devil, as written in the Bible. Yet this is not exactly the case. This article offers a critical examination of the origin of the name, as well as the development of the theological and literary image of the devil called Lucifer. The term translated as “Lucifer” appears only once in the Hebrew Bible, in Isaiah 14:12, where the author uses the day star to allude to the King of Babylon. In the Jewish tradition, this verse does not refer to the fall of the devil. However, the impact of spiritual exegesis of the early Church Fathers and the Latin Vulgate gradually gives rise to the notion that Lucifer is the name of the devil, which becomes widespread throughout the Middle Ages and Reformation era. A particular lie of theological thought and series of images ensues. However, at the same time, the idea of Christ as the bright star has always remained. From the Bible verses to the Easter Vigil liturgy, we can still see Christ called “Lucifer,” the day star. This calls for a deeper reflection on the history of exegesis and theology centering on the figure of Lucifer.



Lucifer, Jewish tradition, spiritual exegesis, biblical literature, Easter liturgy


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