We have a curious instance of the confusion caused by the ambiguity and variations in the meaning of the word, in the case of the celebrated "Daemon" of Socrates. This has been understood in a bad sense by some Christian writers who have made it a matter of reproach that the great Greek philosopher was accompanied and prompted by a demon.
But, as Cardinal Manning clearly shows in his paper on the subject, the word here has a very different meaning. He points to the fact that both Plato and Xenophon use the form daimonion, which Cicero rightly renders as divinum aliquid, "something divine". And after a close examination of the account of the matter given by Socrates himself in the reports transmitted by his disciples, he concludes that the promptings of the "Daemon" were the dictates of conscience, which is the voice of God.
It may be observed that a similar change and deterioration of meaning has taken place in the Iranian languages in the case of the word daeva. Etymologically this is identical with the Sanskrit deva, by which it is rendered in Neriosengh's version of the Avesta. But whereas the devas of Indian theology are good and beneficent gods, the daevas of the Avesta are hateful spirits of evil. (See also Demonology.) W. H. KENT Home Curricula Apologetics Art