Saturday, July 3, 2010

Lecter series - unified analysis - part 22: The correspondence for 'Baal'


The name Hannibal means "grace of Ba'al" from the Phoenician hann "grace" combined with the name of the god BA'AL. Hannibal was the name of a Carthaginian general known for his cruelty, who threatened Rome during the Second Punic War in the 3rd century BC.[a] BA'AL is a Northwest Semitic title and honorific meaning "master" or "lord" that was used for various gods who were patrons of cities in the Levant. Worship of all such spirits was rejected as immoral, and many were in fact considered malevolent and dangerous. Generally speaking, "Ba'al" can refer to any god and even to human officials. Since Ba'al simply means 'Lord', there is no obvious reason for which it could not be applied to Yahweh as well as other gods. In fact, Hebrews generally referred to Yahweh as Adonai ('My Lord') in prayer (the word Hashem - 'The Name' - is substituted in everyday speech).

Most biblical uses of "Ba'al" refer to any number of local spirit-deities worshiped as cult images, each called ba'al and regarded in the Hebrew bible in that context as a false god. Baal is sometimes seen as a demon in Christianity. Christian writings referred to Ba'al Zebûb as a demon or devil, often interchanged with Beelzebub. Either form may appear as an alternate name for Satan or may appear to refer to the name of a lesser devil. The demonization of Ba'al Zebûb led to much of the modern religious personification of Satan as the adversary of the Abrahamic God.[b]


The most important inference to be drawn from the above, is that Hannibal Lecktor represents a personification of Satan.

Swedenborg mentions Baal in several places in his works. The following commentary on the book of Jeremiah is from Apocalypse Explained:

"To set up altars, altars to burn incense unto Baal," signifies worship from the love of self and from the love of the world...[the Israelitish] nation did set up altars and burn incense to Baal; but as all things of their worship were representative, the things that were done according to the statutes were representative of things celestial and spiritual; consequently the things that were done contrary to the statutes were representative of things infernal; therefore by "altars set up to the gods," and by "incense offered to Baal," these contrary things are signified. (--from A.E. n. 324.)

Since worship unto Baal corresponds to worship from the love of self,[c] and since Francis Dollarhyde represents the great red dragon, for whom, as we have already observed (from the Swedenborgian interpretation of Revelation 12:1-4), the correspondence is those who are in love of self, we see that we have a connection between Dollarhyde and Lecktor here, that is, that Dollarhyde 'worships' Lecktor in some sense.

a. Behind the Name, 'Hannibal'. Web, n.d. URL =
b. Wikipedia, 'Baal'. Web, n.d. URL =
c. And from the love of worldly things, which is what Swedenborg means by "love of the world".

To skip over the remainder of the Swedenborgian analysis of the Hannibal Lecter movies, click here.

The works of Emanuel Swedenborg from the Internet Sacred Texts Archive
Apocalypse Explained, by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1757-9], tr. by John Whitehead [1911], at Web. 3 Jul. 2010.


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