Open main menu

Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 2.djvu/445

This page needs to be proofread.




Baalzebub as the original form and to interpret it as "lord of tiie flies".

(2) In the New Testament, there is question of an evil spirit, Beelzeboul. On account of the great similarity of names, he is usually identified with Baalzebub, beel being the Aramaic form of baal, and the change from the final b to I such as might easily occur. But there were numberless names for demons at that time, and this one may have been newly invented, having no relation to the other; the fact that one element of the compound is Aramaic and the other Hebrew would not disprove this. The meaning of the term is "lord of the mansion" or dwelling, and it would be supposed by the Jews of this time to refer to the nether regions, and so be an appropriate name for the prince of that realm. Beel- zeboul (Beelzebub) is used, then, merely as another name for Satan (Matt., xii, 24-29; Luke, xi, 15-22), by whom the enemies of Our Lord accused Him of being possessed and by whom they claimed He cast out demons. Their charge seems to have been that the good Our Lord did was wrought by the Evil One in order to deceive, which Jesus showed to be absurd and a wilful blindness. If the New Testament name be considered a transformation of the old. the ques- tion arises as to how the god of the little town of Accaron came to give a name to the Prince of Dark- ness. The mission on which Ochozias sent his fol- lowers seems to show that Beelzebub already had a wide renown in Palestine. The narrative (IV Kings, i) was a very striking one, well known to the contem- poraries of Our Lord (Luke, ix. 54); from it might easily be derived the idea of Beelzebub as the special adversary of God. and the change in the final letter of the name which took place {ex hypothesi) would lead the Jews to regard it as designating the prince of the lower regions. With him was naturally connected the idea of demoniacal possession; and there is no need of Cheyne's conjecture that Beelzebub's "name naturally rose to Jewish lips wlien demoniacal pos- session was spoken of, because of the demoniacal origin assumed for heathen oracles". How can we account for the idea of Beelzeboul exorcizing the demons? On the assumption thac he is to be iden- tified with the Philistine god, Lagrange thinks the idea is derived from the special prerogative of Beel- zebub as fly-chaser (chasse-mouche). In the Baby- lonian epic of the deluge, "the gods gather over the sacrificer like flies" (see Driver, Genesis, 105). It was easy for the heathen Semites, according to Lagrange, to come to conceive of the flies troubling the sacrifice as images of spirits hovering around with no right to be there; and so Beelzebub, the god who drove away the flies, became the prince of de- mons in whose name the devils were exorcized from the bodies of the possessed. Others think the idea naturally arose that the lord of the demons had power to command them to leave the possessed. It seems much more reasonable, however, to regard this faculty of Beelzebub not as a tradition, but simply as a charge invented by Our Lord's enemies to throw discreilit on His exorcisms. His other miracles were probably accounted for by ascribing them to Beelzebub and so these likewise. Allen (Comm. on Matt., 107, 134) has endeavoured to simplify the problem by the use of higher criticism. ."Vccortiing to him, the role of Beelzebub as arch- demon and exorcist was not a Palestinian behef; in Mark's Gospel, Beelzebub is simply the demon said to possess Our Lord. Matthew anti Luke by mistake fuse together two independent clauses of Mark, iii, 22 and identify Beelzebub with Satan, to whom the faculty of exorcism is ascribed. The fusion, however, seems to be justified by the next verse of Mark, which Is more naturally interpreted in the sense of Matthew anil Luke, though Allen's interpretation may be admitted as possible. Beelzebub does not appear

in the Jewish literature of the period; there we usuallj find Beliar (Belial) as an alternative name for Satan.

L.iGRANGE, Religions Semitiques (Paris, 1905); Chetne in Encyc. Bipl. (New York, 1899), s. v. BaaUebub. Beelzebul; Allen, Commentary on St. Matthew (New Yorlc, 1907); Les±- TRE in ViG., Diet, de la Bible (Paris, 1895), s. v. Beelsebub; HoLTzMANN, Life of Jeexte (London, 1904).

John F. Fenlon.

Beesley (or Bislev), George, Vener.\ble, martyr, b. at The Hill in Goosnargh parish, Lancaster, Eng- land, of an ancient Catholic family; d. 2 July, 1591. He was ordained priest at the English College at Reims, 14 March, 1587, and left for England, 2 No- vember, 1588. A man of singular courage, young, strong, and robust, he was captured by Topcliffe late in 1590, and was by his tortures reduced to a skeleton. He endured all with invincible courage and could not be induced to betray his feUow Catholics. He suffered by the statute of 27 Eliz., merely for being a priest, in Fleet Street, London. His last words were "Absit mihi gloriari nisi in Cruce Domini Nostri Jesu Christi" and, after a pause, "Good people, I beseech God to send all felicity".

GiLLOw, BM. Diet. (London, 1885); Challoneh, Memoirs; Pollen, Acts of English Martyrs (London, 1891 ).

Bede Camm.

Begging Friaxs. See Mendicant Friars.

Begin, Louis Nazaire. See Quebec, Archdio- cese OF.

Begnudelli-Basso, Francesco Antonio, a canon- ist who lived at the end of the seventeenth century; d. at Fieisiiig, it October, 1713. From 1675 he was Vicar-General of Trent, his native place. In 1679, however, he held a canonry in the Cathedral of Freising, where also he became in 1696 vicar-general of the diocese, and where he died. His "Bibliotheca juris canonico-civilis practica sen repertorium quaes- tipnum magis practicarum in utroque foro" ranked him among the best canonists of his day. His canonical acumen is especially noteworthy, while he speaks in the clearest terms of papal infallibility. The work was published in Freising in 1712, four vols, in folio; Cieneva, 1747; Modena and Venice, 17.58. It has, however, lost its practical usefulness owing to the later editions of Lucius Ferraris's " Bibliotheca", which is vastly superior to the work of Begnudelli.

Krautzwald in Kircheniex; Wernz, Jus Decretalium (Rome, 1898), I, no. 324, p. 418; Hurter, Nomenclator. 11. S57.

Andrew B. Meeh.^n.

Beguines; Beghards. — The etymology of the names Biyhard and Beguine can only be conjectured. Most likely they are derived from the old Flemish word beghen, in the sense of "to pray", not "to beg", for neither of these communities were at any time mendicant orders; maybe from Bega, the patron saint of Nivelles, where, according to a doubtful tradition the first Beguinage was established; maybe, again, from Lambert le Begue, a priest of Liege who died in 1180, after having expended a fortune in founding in his native town a cloister and church for the widows and orphans of crusaders.

As early as the commencement of the twelfth cen- tury there were women in the Netherlands who lived alone, and without taking vows devoted themselves to prayer and good works. At first there were not many of them, but as the century grew older their numbers increased; it was the age of the Crusades, and the land teemed with desolate women — the raw material for a host of neophytes. These solitaries made their homes not in the forest, where the true hermit loves to dwell, but on the fringe of the town, where their work lay, for they .served Christ in His poor. About tlie beginning of the thirt<>enth century .some of them groujied their cabins together, and the community thus formed was the first Beguinage.

The Beguine could hardly be called a nun; she took no vows, could return to the world and wed if slie would, and did not renounce her property. If she