The theories put forward or maintained in this book are based on a study of that intricate demonology which has gradually developed throughout the lands of Western Asia. The earliest written records of this magic are found in the cuneiform incantation tablets from Assyria ; and, aided by the various steppingstones afforded by Rabbinic tradition, Syriac monkish writings, and Arabic tales, we can trace its growth and decadence through three thousand years down to its survival in modern Oriental superstition. Furthermore, the parallels afforded by Aryan and Hamitic nations show how close the grooves are in which savage ideas run, and that the principles of magic are, broadly speaking, coincident in each separate nation, and yet, as far as we know, of independent invention. All these superstitions combine to throw light on many of the peculiar customs of the Old Testament, and help to explain the hidden reason why these customs existed. From a study of the characteristics of the evil spirits, which the Semite believed to exist everywhere, certain deductions can be made which bear intimately on our knowledge of the origins of certain tabus and the principle of atonement.