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Mephistopheles: The Devil in the Modern World

Overview

Mephistopheles is the fourth and final volume of Jeffrey Burton Russell's critically acclaimed history of the concept of the Devil. The series constitutes the most complete historical study ever made of the figure called the second most famous personage in Christianity. In the first three volumes, the author brought the history of Christian diabology to the end of the Middle Ages. This volume continues the story from the Reformation to the present, tracing the fragmentation of the tradition. Using examples from ...
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Overview

Mephistopheles is the fourth and final volume of Jeffrey Burton Russell's critically acclaimed history of the concept of the Devil. The series constitutes the most complete historical study ever made of the figure called the second most famous personage in Christianity. In the first three volumes, the author brought the history of Christian diabology to the end of the Middle Ages. This volume continues the story from the Reformation to the present, tracing the fragmentation of the tradition. Using examples from theology, philosophy, art, literature, and popular culture, Russell describes the great changes effected in our idea of the Devil by the intellectual and cultural developments of modern times.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Jeffrey Burton Russell" is not only a conscientious historian, he is also an introspective essayist who acknowledges his own continuing struggle to understand the nature and the source of evil."—Robert Coles, New York Times Book Review

"It is more than the history of demonological imagination as it has been displayed for half a millennium in theological controversies, in poetry, novels, paintings, and witch trials: it is the history of European man trying to cope with the terrifying riddle of radical evil. . . . Both an extremely rich sscholarly work and an exiquisite exercise in a topic that is unlikely ever to die off in our civilization."—Leslek Kolakowski, Journal of Modern History

Library Journal
This volume completes Russell's history of the concept of the Devil from antiquity to the present. The series includes The Devil, Cornell, 1977; Satan, LJ 10/15/81; and Lucifer , LJ 11/15/84. The concept, fragmented somewhat by the Reformation and even more by the rise of rationalism, became in the 19th century a powerful symbol of rebellion against aristocracy and ``an ironic metaphor of the corruption and foolishness of humanity.'' In the 20th century genocide has made the Devil theologically and philosophically an issue. Russell largely succeeds in being the objective historian who carefully pursues the persistence of this concept in popular culture, art, literature, philosophy, and theology. An excellent and important intellectual history. Carolyn M. Craft, English, Philosophy, & Modern Language Dept., Longwood Coll., Farmville, Va.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801497186
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/1990
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 8.99 (h) x 0.84 (d)

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