Book Review: The Devils and Evil Spirits of Babylonia 2


Author: R. Campbell Thompson, M.A.

Publisher: Defender Publishing reproduced this work with the original work from Luzac & Co, London, 1903



Back Cover: The Devils and Evil Spirits of Babylonia

In “The Devils and Evil Spirits of Babylonia” the darker side of myths, legends, magical perceptions, and clandestine incantations known only to the Babylonian and Assyrian ancients are resurrected from ages of obscurity. For centuries, these mystical rituals, summons, and chants were preserved only upon the surface of original antique cuneiform tablets. In 1904, with help from his contemporaries, antiquarian Reverend Campbell Thompson revisited the tablets and uncovered the secrets inscribed within the enigmatic wrinkles of history. Today, Defender Publishing brings these collections back to the table for serious researchers and students of biblical culture.

From the Preface

The object of…the present work is to supply the student of Assyrian Demonology with English transliteration and translations, with the necessary notes, etc, of the documents printed in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Parts of Cuneiform Texts from Babylonian Tablets, etc, which have been recently issued by the Trustees of the British Museum. An examination of these two Parts will show that they contain copies of all the Tablets belonging to the Series Utukki Limnuti, Asakki Marsuti, and Ti’i, I.e., “Evil Spirits,””Fever Sickness,” “Headache,” which have now been identified, together with the texts of a considerable number of compositions of a similar character.

These collections of Evils Spirit Texts form large and important sections of the native literature concerning Babylonian and Assyrian Demonology, and there is reason to believe that the material now published represents about one half of that…which was known to the scribes I’d Assurbanipal. Of the condition of the archetypes in pre-Babylonian times we have no information whatever, but there is no reason to doubt that the versions which were adopted as standard Texts in the reign of Assurbanipal represented substantially the reading of the primitive documents. We are, in short, justified in assuming that we have in our hands at the present time tolerable accurate copies of the exorcisms and spells which the Sumerian and his Babylonian successors employed, some six or seven thousand years ago, to avert the attacks of devils, and to ward off malign influences of very kind.


Book Review: The Devils and Evil Spirits of Babylonia

This book comes in both a hardcover and paperback version. I have the hardcover version. I really like the look and feel of this book, so appropriate for the contents that it contains. It’s 144 pages large print, double-columned and it’s fairly easy to read. The contents include the following:

  • Part One
    • Preface
    • List of Tables
    • Introduction
  • Part Two: Transliteration and Translations of Series Utukki Limnuti, “The Evil Spirits”
    • The Third Tablet
    • The Fourth Tablet
    • The Fifth Tablet (Obverse)
    • The Tenth Tablet (Obverse)
    • The Fifteenth Tablet (Reverse)
    • The Sixteenth Tablet
    • Tablet “A” (Obverse)
    • Tablet “A” (Reverse)
    • Tablet “B” (Obverse)
    • Tablet “C” (Obverse)
    • Tablet “C” (Reverse)
    • Tablet “D” (Reverse)
    • Tablet “E”
    • Tablet “F”
    • Tablet “G” (Obverse)
    • Tablet “G” (Reverse)
    • Tablet “I” (Obverse)
    • Tablet “K” 
  • Notes

My thoughts about The Devils and Evil Spirits of Babylonia

I have to be honest, I struggled with reading this book, more than most that I’ve read to date. Before I get into why I struggled with it, let me say that it contains some interesting information and facts regarding ancient (though it sounds like some of it is still in use today), pagan incantations to fight off evil spirits. The history and origin of these practices is what I found intriguing and the link to the Hebrews and various others that surrounded them. Seeing various demonic spirits mentioned within the Bible was definitely eye-opening to me. I had previously read over these, not fully understanding that they were actually demonic in nature, which brough more of the passages to life for me and give them far more meaning than I had prior to reading this book. Gleaning that information alone is worth getting this book and having it as part of one’s research library.

With that being said, let me say that I was not a fan of the inclusion of all the actual (though vastly fragmented) incantations. An editor’s note found at the beginning of Part Two of the book reads, “Editor’s note: Portions of text that are destroyed or illegible on the original tablets will be marked with brackets and ellipses.” These incantations were said to ward off evil spirits, to include “Fever Sickness, Headache” and the like. My struggle is that these are in the book and available for us, Christians, or anyone picking up this book, to read. I don’t believe we are called to read such things, even in passing. It’s enough for me to know that they are out there, but by reading them, what is being invoked? Scripturally speaking, where can we find that God is okay with us reading such incantations rather than, finding that we are to stay clear of such practices. 

Truly, I fail to see the full relevance for the inclusion of these incantations. It would have been enough for me to know they exist and have been partially recovered to show that the Israelites did indeed participate in such pagan practices. I see this could be a potential stumbling block for believers and non-believers alike. One can be led to believe that they can place their faith in such practices to help them with their ailments and to ward off evil spirits, rather than trusting in the One True God of the Bible. 

I prayed before I picked it up, as I was reading it and anytime I was called to do so. I prayed that my reading such words would not invoke anything that I didn’t intend to invoke. I didn’t want to read too much of the incantations, so I opted to only scan through Part Two, rather than reading it word-for-word. I also decided to not read a bit of the examples included in Part One, for the same reason. So, I read bits and pieces of the examples and scanned others. I did not want to open any doors to the enemy, through reading this book. 


Would I Recommend The Devils and Evil Spirits of Babylonia

Yes and no. While I did find some of the information intriguing, it contains things that I do not believe are meant for our eyes nor for us to set in our minds. As the Bible teaches us, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Phil 4:8 KJV Another passage comes to mind, that while it was for a different context, I do believe it can apply here too, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” 1 Cor. 10:23 KJV. 

Again, I do struggle to see the edifying impact of including these incantations. I do not recommend this book for non-believers, new believers nor for those that are not rooted deeply in the Word of God and lead by His Holy Spirit, to discern what one is reading. For the scholar, Bible student or for those seeking to learn more about various practices of the cultures that existed in days gone by, I would advise to pray before buying this book, to ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in what you should do. The warfare is real, we are to fear God alone, but with that said, He specifically tells us to stay clear of things that would/could take our eyes and hearts off of Him and lead us down a paths He has not prepared for us. For those that feel lead to read this, my prayers are with you, to keep and cover you in the blood of our Lord Jesus. There certainly is no fear in perfect love, for perfect love casts out all fear (see 1 John 4:18) and we’ve been given the “…power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” Luke 10:19 KJV But with that said, we are also given wisdom, to all who ask for it (see James 1:5-8), and discernment (by the guide of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us) to know what we ought to engage in and what we should leave alone. 


And, that’s a wrap…The Devils and Evil Spirits of Babylonia

I hope you found this review helpful. If so, please share it with your family and friends, so they can learn about this great book too. You can click here or on any image of the book on this page to see it on Amazon. Thanks for taking the time to read this review and God bless!



“We are, in short, justified in assuming that we have in our hands at the present time tolerably accurate copies of the exorcisms and spells which the Sumerian and his Babylonian successor employed, some six or seven thousand years ago, to avert the attacks of devils, and to ward off malign influences of every kind.” 

“The material given in the following pages will be found to afford abundant proof of the fact that a considerable proportion of the magical practices which are in use in the East to the present day were well known to the inhabitants of Mesopotamia several thousands of years ago, and that many of them were borrowed by the Hebrews and other dwellers in Syria and Persia from their neighbors on that Tigris and Euphrates.”

-R. Campbell Thompson, M.A., The Devils and Evil Spirits of Babylonia, p. 5-6, 7 (respectively)


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2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Devils and Evil Spirits of Babylonia

  • evolvingerinb

    Thank you so much, for such a thoughtful and thorough review. I so agree about your considered warning. I as well believe as you do. I personally know I am one who shouldn’t read this book, as my past mistakes in my life could be triggered with this information. So thank you.

    • Ally Post author

      So glad you found it helpful, my friend. Thanks again for reading my review and for leaving a comment. I would not recommend this to most people, I just believe those incantations can be so dangerous for most.