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Whispers of sin, wisps of demons: the origins of the logismoi and telõnia

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An early Christian construct which had the recently-deceased soul endures a series of judicial proceedings by demons, the telonia has survived as a folk belief in Orthodox nations such as

An early Christian construct which had the recently-deceased soul endures a series of judicial proceedings by demons, the telonia has survived as a folk belief in Orthodox nations such as Russia and Ukraine. The telonia construct is a controversial one in Orthodoxy, however, as discussions of the construct's origins often break down into polemical debate regarding the ontological reality of the telonia. This thesis, as its primary goal, investigates the origins and early development of the telonia in a methodical, scholarly manner. It adduces texts from ancient Egypt to propose that the origins of the telonia extend to the earliest written phases of the Egyptian religion. Secondarily, this thesis investigates the origins of the logismoi: intentions which demons introduce into human minds to seduce them to sin. In 1952, Morton Bloomfield posited that the logismoi ultimately evolved from the telonia. Bloomfield's assertion has become the secondary inquiry of this thesis: to wit, whether the logismoi construct evolved from the telonia. This study employs textual criticism of sources in Greek, Latin, and Coptic to answer the two queries. The evidence indicates that the telonia evolved from three previous constructs over the course of at least 2500 years. It also indicates that neither the telonia nor any of its ancestral constructs influenced the creation of the logismoi.

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  • 2011