The Confluence

Document Type



Lilith, the female demon, is found all over ancient Babylonian mythology. She is not unique to Jewish folklore but was a part of ancient Babylonian and Assyrian mythology prior to the time of the Rabbis. In this paper, I will explore how her myth is incorporated into Judaism to help explain why evil happens to people who unwilfully sin. I will explore the cultivation and connection between the demon Lilith in the Jewish tradition, drawing from the Talmudic sources, a separate story in the Alphabet of Ben Sira, and the relation to evil. The Alphabet of Ben Sira was written after the Babylonian Talmud: “The Alphabet of Ben Sira is a medieval popular book with a pseudpigraphic character. Its exact date is still a matter of dispute. The majority of experts believe that it was written sometime between the ninth and tenth centuries.”[1] This, and the Talmudic midrash about Lilith, were eventually picked up by popular Judaism. In this paper, I follow the development of the Lilith mythology, her beginning as an evil mother goddess, changing to a desert demon, to a baby killer, then to a succubus, and lastly as an explanation of Adam’s first wife in the book of Genesis, which serves as a bases for the Alphabet of Ben Sira.

Author Bio

Sarah Goldblum, graduated from Lindenwood University in December of 2020 with a bachelors degree in Religious Studies. Sarah focused on the portrayal of the demon Lilith in Judaic and Rabbinic discourse. After graduation Sarah began working full time at a Jewish preschool and will be pursuing a degree at Lindenwood University with a masters in counseling.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.



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