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Lilith (lĭlˈĭth) [key], female demon of Jewish mythology, originally probably the Assyrian storm demon Lilitu. In Talmudic tradition many evil attributes were given to this supposedly nocturnal creature. In Jewish folklore she is a vampirelike child-killer and the symbol of sensual lust. Of the various legends connected with her, the one making her Adam's first wife is the strongest. Lilith appears in the Walpurgis Night section of Goethe's Faust and is discussed in Bernard Shaw's Back to Methuselah.

See L. Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews, vol. V (repr. 1956).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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