Original Research

The devil as (convicted) prosecutor: Some ideas on the devil in 1 Peter and Hebrews

Sebastian Fuhrmann
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 50, No 2 | a2028 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v50i2.2028 | © 2016 Sebastian Fuhrmann | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 August 2015 | Published: 03 December 2016

About the author(s)

Sebastian Fuhrmann, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa


The article suggests that the relationship between Christ’s death and the defeat of the devil (Heb 2:14), as well as the metaphor of the devil as an adversary prowling like a roaring lion (1 Pt 5:8) possibly share the same background – i.e., the ancient Roman judicial phenomenon of  crimen calumniae. This legal practice was established to stop prosecutors from bringing forward false charges. Convicted calumniators were removed from office and suffered additional punishments. This background might help explain the fact that the devil was defeated according to Hebrews by way of false accusation, and that the devil in 1 Peter does not attack the believers, but is only on the prowl for justified accusations.


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