The Origin of Satan

The Origin of Satan

Book - 1995
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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 which the gospel of love gives way to irrational hatreds that continue to haunt Christians and non-Christians alike. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Publisher: New York : Random House, c1995.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780679401407
0679401407
Branch Call Number: 235.47/PAG
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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