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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
This book isn't exactly your classic bedtime reading. It's a great book, no doubt about that. But the book tells fact after fact after fact. It reads like an encyclopedia, which is why I find it difficult to doubt anything the author is stating. But again, it's a great book if your just wanting the facts. It vary rarely contains personal thoughts and feelings about the subjects. I recommend it for anyone just wanting the facts, then wanting to base their own opinions.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on April 5, 2010
This book was originally published in 1900. Its author, Paul Carus, was a German professor whose ideas about religion offended church authorities in Germany, making it difficult for him to obtain publication there. He came to the United States and published a number of very interesting books on a variety of religious, historical, and philosophical topics.

This book is as much a history of comparative religion as it is a history of the devil. We learn a good deal about Eastern religions and their basic doctrines, along with how the concept of evil works in those faiths. While the book takes a far-reaching perspective, it is not comprehensive. Little is said about indigenous African and Native American religions, for example. Dr. Carus is also sensitive to the ways in which the concept of Satan has been used by religious authorities to persecute "witches" and "heretics" and the chapters on these subjects, while understated, were painful to read.

This book was written prior to the great evils of the Twentieth Century, and it would have been interesting to see how knowledge of say, Hitler's evil might have changed Dr. Carus's analysis or perspective.

I found the book highly enjoyable and readable. Particularly interesting are the many compelling illustrations reproduced throughout the book in vivid detail.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2013
I loved reading this book. It is very thorough and indepth. You must read it if you are looking to gain knowledge about the history of the devil's origin and the origins of religion.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2006
I have read many books on the devil over the years, and this is by far the best.

It belongs in every library, Christian and Satanist alike!
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8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 2001
Paul Carus's classic treatise, writ and published to great occult acclaim circa 1900, remains a much deserved classic; 350 illustrations carefully chosen alone warrant applause, but it is his highly focused text that deserves scholars' attentions and demands republication. Foremost of importance for current day readers is the extent to which the work delves far beyond the pulpish, tho non-fictive, profit-orientated goals of the majority of the Devil's historians making a buck and a name out there today (Jeffrey B. Russell, whose depictions of the late eliphas Levi as a mere flop Satanist---of which as a devout Catholic Abbe' he was strictly railing against the entirety of his miraculous life---exemplifies such). None such opinionations are within carus's exemplar work. Crucial to this review is coneying the standard of success he reaches in establishing his goal of a thorough, precise and organized historiography mapping and dilineating the crucial developments and differences amidst the varied beliefs and ideas concerning evil and its dominions and servitors, on a level worldwide in conception. Cultural relativity is and remains established throughout; no opinions are broached to instead focus strictly upon orientating the reader with The History Of The Devil And The Idea Of Evil ( the book's subtitle) with little sensationalism besides the already stranger than fiction truth of the matter.
As a Romantic debauchee lusting for poetic description with the kind of wit that bites its object of desire in the middle of the back, my only complaint of such a work as Carus's lies here. Those searching for the blasphemous variety need not turn to necromancy to evoke such animated literature as some precious few remain miraculously in print ( Eliphas Levi, Montague Summers,and Grillot de Givry, respectively, all relative contemporaries of Carus---1860, 1926 & 1931---serve excellent examples). Carus however was unconcerned with novelistic delights and concentrated upon discovering underlying formations of principles and morality within a cultural context; his establishing of historical factual sources, verifiable and in most cases evident, posits him upon a high mount of scholarly regard in the lands of comparative religions.
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on May 8, 2014
This book was purchased for our library upon recommendation by one of our professors as an excellent tool for student learning and research.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2003
A wonderfully written and illustrated book takes you through the concept of devil from the ancient egypt to modern times. Paul ideas on the demonology of the christendom will keep you on the edge of your seat. A must buy classic!
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5 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2000
Mr Paul Carus comes at the problems of evil in society with a refreshing,albeit strained, neutrality. I think that Mr. Carus seriously digs Satan and this comes through in the background of his writing, especially when he came no longer hold his tongue in the witchcraft sections. He is a mighty scholar, tis true, but I wonder, Mr. Paul Carus, where is the discussion of our present understanding of evil? The Chapter "In Verse and Fable," was a move in the right direction, but sadly, the book dries up before Carus can point to any application of his fine scholarship to our present existance, so it becomes simply a fine reproduction of the endless parade of devil literature...
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A History of the Devil
A History of the Devil by Gérald Messadié (Paperback - November 17, 1997)

History of the Devil and the Idea of Evil
History of the Devil and the Idea of Evil by Paul Carus (Hardcover - August 14, 1996)


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