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BELIAL


408


BELIEF


member of the Academie des Sciences of Paris. He ■was likewise one of the founders of the Arcadian colony of Parma. He wrote on a variety of subjects, among his works being: "I Fenomeni Elettrici" (1749); "Delia riflessione de' corpi dall' acqua e della •diminuzione della mole de' sassi ne' torrenti e ne' fiumi" (1755); "De analyseos vulgaris usu in re physica" (1761-62); "Delle sensazioni del freddo e •del calore" (1764); "Theoria Cochleae Archimedis" (1767); "Deir esistenza di Dio da' teoremi geomet- rici" (1777), etc.

M.^zzucHELLi, GH Scrittori d'llalia (Brescia 1760), II. ii; SoMMERvoGEL, Biblioihkque de la c. de J. (new ed.. Paris, 1890). H. M. Brock.

Belial, found frequently as a personal name in the \'ulgate and various Enghsli translations of the Bible, is commonly used as a synonym of Satan, or the personification of evil. This sense is derived from II Cor., vi, 15, where Belial (or BeUar) as prince of darkness is contrasted with Christ, the light. It is clear in the Vulgate and Douay translations of III Kings, xxi, 10 and 13, where the same Hebrew word is rendered once as Belial and twice as "the devil". In the other instances, too, the translators understood it as a name for the prince of evil, and so it has passed into English. Milton, however, distinguishes Belial from Satan, regarding hira as the demon of impurity. In the Hebrew Bible, nevertheless, the word is not a proper name, but a common noun usually signifying "wickedness" or "extreme wickedness". Thus, Moore renders " sons of Belial " as " vile scoundrels " (Judges, xi.x, 22); most prefer "worthless fellows". In some cases belial seems to mean "destruction", "ruin"; thus in Ps., xli, 9 (Heb.), the word is parallel to the thought of utter destruction and seems to mean the same. In Ps., xviii, 5, it is parallel to "death" and "Sheol"; some understand it as "de- struction", Cheyne as "the abyss". The etymology of the word ?yi)3 is doubtful; it is usually given as '■>3, " not ", " without ", and ?V'. a verb which occurs only in the Hiphil (causative active) form, " to use ", " be of use ", " to be profitable to "; the compound is supposed to mean worthlessness. Cheyne suggests <T?V^ v3, that from which no one comes up, namely, the abyss, Sheol. St. Jerome's etymology "without yoke", which he has even inserted as a gloss in the text of Judges, xix, 22, is contrary to Hebrew philol- ogy. Belial, from meaning wickedness or Sheol, could develop into a name for the prince of evil or of darkness; and as such was widely used at the begin- ning of our era. Under the names Beliar, Berial, he plays a very important role in apocryphal literature, in the "Ascension of Isaias", the "Sibylline Ora- cles", and the "Testament of the T%velve Patri- archs". He is the prince of this world and will come as .Antichrist; his name is sometimes given also to Nero, returning as Antichrist.

Cheyne in Encyc. Bib. (New York, 1899); Moore, Commen- tary on Judges (New Yorli, 1900), 419; Garvie in Hast., Diet, of Bible (New York, 1903); Deane, Pseudepigrapha {Edinburgh, 1891); Lesetre in Vic Diet, de la Bible (Paris, 1894); Charles, Ascension of Isaiah (London, 1900); Charles, Eschalology, Hebrew, Jewish, and Christian (London, 1899).

John F. Fenlon.

Belief {be and lyian, to hold dear), that state of the mind by which it assents to propositions, not by reason of their intrinsic evidence, but because of authority. Though the term is commonly used in ordinary language, as well as in much philosophical writing, to cover a great many states of mind, the quasi-definition advanced is probably the best calculated to differentiate belief from all other forms of mental assent. In framing it, respect is paid to the motive of the assent rather than to its nature; for, since intellectual assent is of its nature simple and indivisible, no differenticE proximo: can be assigned by which it could be separated into various species.


As the objects of belief, al.so, are of a nature similar to those of knowledge, opinion, and doubt, so, again, no criterion of division can be found in them (as in the case of the objects of separate faculties) to dis- tinguish it from other mental states. St. Thomas Aquinas qualifies his definition of faith with the addi- tion of the note of certainty (Sunima, I-II, Q. i, a. 4). Though he treats of faith as a theological virtue in the article cited, his words may well be extended to include belief as a purely natural state of the mind. It will thus be seen to cover intellectual assent to truths accepted on authority either human or Divine. In the former case belief may be desig- nated by the sjmonym credence; in the latter the more usual term is faith. Often, also, belief is used in the sense of fiducia, or trust; and this especially in Protestant theology as a substitute for faith. By the definition given above we are enabled to distin- guish belief (1) from intelligence, in that the truth of the fact or proposition believed is not seen intui- tively; (2) from science or knowledge, since there is no question of resolving it into its first principles; (3) from doubt, because belief is an assent and posi- tive; (4) from opinion and conjecture, in which the assent is not complete.

Belief, however, as has already been noted, is often indiscriminatingly used for these and for other states of mind from which for the sake of accuracy it should be as carefully distinguished as is possible. Though we may know a thing and at the same time believe it (as in the case of the existence of God, which is a natural verity as well as a revealed truth), it is in the interest of clearness that we should keep to the distinction drawn and not confound belief and knowledge, because of the fact that the same truth may simultaneously be the object of both. But there is another very general use of the term belief in which it is taken to designate assent com- plete enough to exclude any practical doubt and yet distinguishable from the assent of knowledge. In this use no account is taken of authority. We have many convictions resting upon evidence that is not sufficiently clearly presented to our mind to enable us to say we know, but abundantly sufficient for us to produce a practically unqualified assent. While this would seem to fall under the Scholastic head of opinion, it is the point about which has turned the controversy that has been waged since David Hume brought the question into prominence upon the philo- sophic issue. Briefly, to select a certain number of tj^pical WTiters for examination, the issues involved are these. How far do we believe — in the sense of trusting our natural faculties in their reports and judgments; and in how far can we be said to know? Hume, in accordance with his sensistic principles, would restrict our knowledge to purely ideal truths. We are capable of knowing, according to the Scotch sceptic, such ideal principles as those of mathemat- ics, together with the conclusions that are derived from them. But our attribution of an objective reality to what we imagine to be the causes of sensa- tions is a belief. So also are such judgments as that of the principle of causality. We cannot be said to know, but to believe, that there is actually such a relation as that of effect to cause. We believe this, and other similar truths, because of a peculiar char- acter of vivacity, solidity, firmness, or steadiness attaching to our conceptions of them. The division is an arbitrarj' one and the explanation offered as to the nature of belief unsatisfactory' and insufficient. Similarly, James Mill would have the assent given to the objective reality of beings a belief. With him the occasion of the belief is the association of ideas: or, rather, as he wronglj' states it, the association of ideas is the belief. If belief is a state of mmd at all, it can scarcely be described as an association of ideas. Such an association could at most be considered as