Black as Evil

Swaminathan Madhuresan smadhuresan at YAHOO.COM
Fri Dec 8 14:10:44 UTC 2000

Dr. Georg von Simson wrote:
>It is true that in the black-white contrast black has negative
>and white positive meaning (because sin is black and innocence
>is white), but in other contexts the symbolic value of white
>is rather ambiguous.

 Sin's color isn't black always. The bible gives it as
 white too:

    "'Though your sins are like scarlet,
        they shall be white as snow;
    Though they are red like crimson,
        they shall be like wool . .  .'"  (Isaiah 1:18, NIV.)

 The black vs. white duality like light vs. darkness in the bible
 is usually attributed to the Hebrew contact with Persia.
 The said duality is vividly portrayed in the Aryan
 texts of Iran and India.

 In earlier times, Evil was called Belial(=Worthless). After the
 dualism of Black vs. White gets into the Judaic religion from
 Indo-Iranians, "Belial" was replaced and got substituted as "Beliar".
 This is a pun on "beli 'or" (=without light). (E. Pagels, The origin
 of Satan, p. 57-58; S. david Sperling, "Belial" in K. van der Toorn,
 Dictionary of Deities and Demons, E.J.Brill).

>There is no real point in contrasting the black god Vishnu-Krishna
>with the white of mourning ...

 Is the God Vishnu known to be black from earliest
 Sanskrit sources? Given the portrayal of black in
 the duality theme both in Iran and India, could
 the black God Vishnu represent acculturation
 in India? Perhaps black as a God is missing in

>Are you so sure that black never is associated with negative
>ideas in Tamil literature and that white is just associated
>with mourning and never with anything positive?

Tamil literature does not cast black as a non-likeable
color at all. And, the duality theme of putting
white against black is absent too.


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