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the study of demons or demonic beliefs
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



in a number of religions a teaching concerning evil spirits that originated historically from a primitive belief in spirits.

Demonology is most important in religions with a dualistic division of the universe into a world of good and evil (for example, Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism). In later religions that experienced the influence of Zoroastrianism (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) demonology also became an important part of doctrinal belief.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
(12) Earlier in Tuo's biography, cat demon worship is linked to his wife's natal household: "[Tuo] loved heterodox worships.
The assault against his wife caused Emperor Wen to take the cat demon threat seriously and to reassess his policies regarding cat demon worship: "Earlier, someone had filed a lawsuit claiming that his mother had been murdered by someone [worshipping] the cat demon.
Besides the accounts contained in Empress Dugu's and Dugu Tuo's biographies, the only other mention of the cat demon in Sui shu and Bei shi occurs in Emperor Wen's "Basic Annals," which record that, in 598 (the eighteenth year of the Kaihuang reign period), the Emperor issued a decree criminalizing cat demon worship, along with other forms of malevolent magic, including brewing gu poison (gudu), worshipping demons (yanmei), and yedao or masterless venoms (wu zhu zhi gu), on penalty of banishment (ion yu siyi).
(26) The dating of Zheng Qiye's death to 598, the very year in which Emperor Wen issued a decree criminalizing cat demon worship, suggests that she was believed to have succumbed to the cat demon attack and that, prior to her death, Empress Dugu, also a target of the demon, employed a physician skilled in Daoist healing techniques.
In summary, "idol-worship," "demon worship," and "bad/evil religion" appear to be undefined polemical terms that could be applied to any religious tradition deemed alien by the Zoroastrian priesthood.