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The devil (Middle English: devel, Old English: dēofol; German: Teufel, Middle High German tiufel, Old High German: tiufal, via Latin: diabolus; Greekδιάβολος diabolos "slanderer", from διαβάλλειν diabállein "to throw into confusion, to bring apart, to deceive") is one of the adversaries. In anthroposophical usage, the devil in the narrower sense is usually Lucifer, the luminous red devil, to be distinguished from the sinister Ahriman, who is occasionally also called the black devil. In Goethe's Faust drama, Mephistopheles appears as a Luciferian-Ahrimanic hybrid, in which the destructive-Ahrimanic part predominates, especially in the second part of the tragedy. Mephistopheles' two-facedness is also reflected in his name:

„Mephistopheles is called the one who corrupts by lies, Mephiz, the corrupter - Tophel, in Hebrew, the liar.“ (Lit.:GA 53, p. 325)

„In other lectures, too, I have already drawn attention to the fact that basically the explanation of the name "Mephistopheles" is simply to be found in Hebrew, where mephiz means the hinderer, the corrupter, and tophel means the liar, so that we have to understand the name as applying to a being that is composed of a bringer of ruin, of hindrances to man, and on the other hand of a spirit of untruth, of deception, of illusion.“ (Lit.:GA 107, p. 162)

Steiner here interprets the Hebrew word tophel (תפל) as "liar" - and ultimately the German word "Teufel" or English "devil" is also derived from it:

„That Mephistopheles may be brought together with the devil or with the idea of the devil, is already aimed at by the name; for the word "tophel" is the same as "the devil".“ (Lit.:GA 107, p. 163)

In the Hebrew Tanakh, however, the name "Tophel" is mentioned only once and in a completely different context. There it refers to a place in the desert on the other side of the Jordan southwest of the Dead Sea, near which Moses spoke to the people of Israel (Deut 1:1).


References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
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Index to the Complete Works of Rudolf Steiner - Aelzina Books
A complete list by Volume Number and a full list of known English translations you may also find at Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works
Rudolf Steiner Archive - The largest online collection of Rudolf Steiner's books, lectures and articles in English.
Rudolf Steiner Audio - Recorded and Read by Dale Brunsvold - Anthroposophic Press Inc. (USA)
Rudolf Steiner Handbook - Christian Karl's proven standard work for orientation in Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works for free download as PDF.