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HARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY

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The legendary conception of a human being yielding up possession of his immortal soul to the Evil Spirit, for the enjoyment of worldly wisdom and worldly pleasures during a fixed period, may be traced back to the earliest age of Christianity. Its first tangible shape it would seem to have assumed in the legend of Theophilus, which apparently took its rise in the sixth century in Asia Minor, i.e. in districts where Christian and Persian ideas were in constant contact. We may, therefore, be inclined to conjecture that the peculiar character of the Demon of Evil was, in its first conception, formed upon the model of the ancient Persian Ahriman, the representative of Evil. According to this legend, Theophilus delivers himself, body and soul, to the Evil Spirit ; he does homage to him in the Eastern fashion ; he is however finally saved by the intercession of the Virgin, or, as the Eastern Church calls her, the Havayia. This legend furnished the subject of a Latin drama to the famous nun of Gandersheim, Hrotswitha, who lived in the latter half of the tenth

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