( Hebrew helel ; Septuagint heosphoros , Vulgate lucifer )
The name Lucifer originally denotes the planet Venus, emphasizing its brilliance. The Vulgate employs the word also for "the light of the morning" ( Job 11:17 ), "the signs of the zodiac" ( Job 38:32 ), and "the aurora" ( Psalm 109:3 ). Metaphorically, the word is applied to the King of Babylon ( Isaiah 14:12 ) as preeminent among the princes of his time ; to the high priest Simon son of Onias ( Ecclesiasticus 50:6 ), for his surpassing virtue, to the glory of heaven ( Apocalypse 2:28 ), by reason of its excellency; finally to Jesus Christ himself ( 2 Peter 1:19 ; Apocalypse 22:16 ; the "Exultet" of Holy Saturday ) the true light of our spiritual life.
The Syriac version and the version of Aquila derive the Hebrew noun helel from the verb yalal , "to lament"; St. Jerome agrees with them ( In Isaiah 1:14), and makes Lucifer the name of the principal fallen angel who must lament the loss of his original glory bright as the morning star. In Christian tradition this meaning of Lucifer has prevailed; the Fathers maintain that Lucifer is not the proper name of the devil, but denotes only the state from which he has fallen (Petavius, De Angelis , III, iii, 4).
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online