The Origin of Satan

The Origin of Satan

Book - 1995
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Baker & Taylor
A study on the role of the devil in biblical and modern times theorizes that dissident social groups that resisted Christianity, such as Jews and pagans, were typically portrayed as demons and therefore established as threats

Blackwell North Amer
Who is Satan in the New Testament, and what is the evil that he represents? In this groundbreaking book, Elaine Pagels, Princeton's distinguished historian of religion, traces the evolution of Satan from its origins in the Hebrew Bible, where Satan is at first merely obstructive, to the New Testament, where Satan becomes the Prince of Darkness, the bitter enemy of God and man, evil incarnate.
In The Origin of Satan, Pagels shows that the four Christian gospels tell two very different stories. The first is the story of Jesus' moral genius: his lessons of love, forgiveness, and redemption. The second tells of the bitter conflict between the followers of Jesus and their fellow Jews, a conflict in which the writers of the four gospels condemned as creatures of Satan those Jews who refused to worship Jesus as the Messiah. Writing during and just after the Jewish war against Rome, the evangelists invoked Satan to portray their Jewish enemies as God's enemies too.
As Pagels then shows, the church later turned this satanic indictment against its Roman enemies, declaring that pagans and infidels were also creatures of Satan, and against its own dissenters, calling them heretics and ascribing their heterodox views to satanic influences.

& Taylor

A study on the role of the devil in biblical and modern times theorizes that dissident social groups that resisted Christianity, such as Jews and Pagans, were typically portrayed as demons and therefore established as threats. 35,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Random House, c1995
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780679401407
Characteristics: xxiii, 214 p. ; 25 cm


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ezhurbin Jul 27, 2017

I loved this book! It is fascinating, illuminating, concise and engrossing.
The book explores political and social forces at the birth of Christianity to about 2 century that lead to the development of the idea of Satan.
There is not much Satan per se in the book; mostly the book goes through the canonical and Gnostic gospels and other historic documents to illustrate the Christians' strategy of using the idea of Satan to criticize and demonize their political opponents and real or perceived enemies.
I found this book absolutely fascinating-it contains a lot of information, but presents it in a dynamic narrative that is easy and enjoyable to read. The book does a great job of laying out and analyzing Gospels and the early Christian church and its struggles. This book gave me a solid understanding of the Gospels and other early Christian texts. It is great for someone who is not familiar with scriptures besides the general cultural knowledge.
I found this book captivating and highly recommend it!

jjd1986 Dec 15, 2011

It wasn't entirely satisfieing. But a really good read. I wouldn't call it a fun read as much as a dry read (much like dry humor).
I was astonished to learned of the origin and evolution of some of the gospels in this book.
I was only dissapointed with the book because i thought it was going to be MORE about the origin of the idea of Satan, the devil and his demons. I was also hoping for some of that scientific, empirical anti, about how the experiences people have with demons and evil forces are actually this or that. This was not Pagels' aim.
Her aim rested on showing how Satan has been thrown about by the Christians (and Muslims) more than anyone else before them. How the Christians akin any singular non-believer to be demon possesed along with anything that comes from their words or deeds.

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jjd1986 Dec 15, 2011

jjd1986 thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over


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