The Testament of Solomon, Part 8

What does Solomon do now that Beelzebub has arrived?

I now asked the demon if there were any female demons. When he replied that there were, (I said that) I wanted to see (one).

Once again, Solomon is getting himself into trouble. As best I can tell, there wasn’t any debate within Jewish scholarship as to whether demons could be female or not. Perhaps there was some disagreement among the Church fathers, but I’m not having much luck at uncovering it if that’s the case. At any rate, it certainly doesn’t require Solomon to actually see the demon in question. Once again, Solomon’s curiosity gets him into trouble.

Beelzebub is quick to oblige him, and soon a beautiful – save for her mule’s legs – demon stands before the king. Solomon quickly learns that her name is Onoskelis, and that she enjoys spending time in caverns and canyons. Not only that, she’s well-rounded:

However, I have a many-sided character. Sometimes I strangle men, sometimes I pervert them from their true natures.

She goes on to assert that she attracts honey-skinned men of her constellation (possibly Capricorn) who worship her in hopes of getting gold, but they are horribly deceived.

When asked where she comes from, Onoskelis gives a surprising answer:

“I was generated from an unexpected voice which is called a voice of the echo of a black heaven, emitted in matter.”

No one’s quite sure what this means, but it appears to be close to Gnosticism, in which spoken words and a separation of spirit from matter were crucial elements.

Through subsequent questions, Solomon learns that Onoskelis is associated with the full moon (presumably, as well as her “constellation”) and that her controlling angel is in fact within Solomon.  She sticks with that story, even after he threatens to beat her.  Thus, Onoskelis becomes perhaps the only demon in the book whose entry is not set up for the help of future magicians, with the name of an angel to ward off effects.

Having had enough of Onoskelis, the king condemns her to spin rope, and next seeks out a demon already mentioned in the comments – Asmodeus.  More on that Wednesday.

(Quotes from The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha)

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Published in: on December 10, 2007 at 7:03 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] Testament of Solomon, Part 9 After Onoskelis leaves, Solomon asks for another demon – any demon – to be sent.  Immediately, he and Solomon get into […]


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