The Origin of Satan

The Origin of Satan

3.6 9
by Elaine Pagels
     
 

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From the religious historian whose The Gnostic Gospels won both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award comes a dramatic interpretation of Satan and his role on the Christian tradition. With magisterial learning and the elan of a born storyteller, Pagels turns Satan's story into an audacious exploration of Christianity's shadow side, in…  See more details below

Overview

From the religious historian whose The Gnostic Gospels won both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award comes a dramatic interpretation of Satan and his role on the Christian tradition. With magisterial learning and the elan of a born storyteller, Pagels turns Satan's story into an audacious exploration of Christianity's shadow side, in which the gospel of love gives way to irrational hatreds that continue to haunt Christians and non-Christians alike.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Pagels, whose Gnostic Gospels (LJ 1/15/79) was a best seller and a major award winner, here examines the New Testament tendency to associate the Devil with Jews resistant to the teachings of Christianity.
Steve Schroeder
Pagels' lucid history of the social construction of Satan is not only a wealth of historical information, but also a source of important insights into the demonization of "intimate enemies" that has marked the history of Christianity. Pagels writes that she began with the assumption that Christian discourse about invisible beings, including Satan and other angels, had as its primary purpose what Austrian-born Israeli philosopher Martin Buber called the "moralizing" of the natural universe. She discovered that it had far more to do with social relations among particular persons, and that discovery informs the entire book. She traces the development of Satan in the Jewish community from a sort of roving agent acting on God's behalf--always obstructing but not always evil--to an increasingly evil force identified more and more with intimate enemies, members of one's own community with whom one is in conflict. That trend toward demonization of portions of the Jewish community intensified with the emergence of Christianity and became the basis for demonization of heretics and centuries of anti-Semitism. This is an informative, beautifully written book, an excellent illustration of how careful historical research can illuminate questions of more than passing historical interest.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307807366
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/12/2011
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
206,730
File size:
2 MB

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Origin of Satan 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Completely illustrates Christianity in such a way that you read the information and draw your own conclusions as to the meaning behind the message. Powerful! I recommend this book to anyone of any faith or lack of becuase the information is so interesting. Simply an AWESOME BOOK!
Guest More than 1 year ago
As an avid reader of Christian history, I read this book to help me get an understanding of Christianity¿s central enemy. In Pagels¿ book, she gives a detailed explanation of Satan¿s origins from the New Testament, but I admit I did not understand a lot of what she was talking about when she used numerous non-canon texts of Gnosticism. Granted, these texts give a non-standard description of Satan, the average reader would not comprehend what she was talking about when referring to books other than the four canon gospels. I suppose I should have read up on that, considering that Pagels is one of the leading scholars in the Gnostic gospels, to which she devoted an entire book to the subject. My suggestion is to read up on Gnosticism before divulging into The Origin of Satan, or you may get confused when dealing with some of the information in Pagels¿ book. That does not degrade this book in anyway. The information presented is excellent and vastly informative.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A concise examination of the cultural development and presence of the devil's modern image. Great scholarship on Satan's family tree, but the book could delve more deeply into the emotions aroused by him. They, too, effect history. I recommend reading this in conjunction with Pagel's Adam, Eve & the Serpent.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This exhausting account of Biblical devils puts him behind you.
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CCANCELL More than 1 year ago
Not sure what to think of it. Didn't enlightened me.