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Lucifer: The Devil in the Middle Ages (Cornell Paperbacks) Paperback – August 8, 1986

ISBN-13: 978-0801494291 ISBN-10: 080149429X

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Lucifer: The Devil in the Middle Ages (Cornell Paperbacks) + Satan: The Early Christian Tradition (Cornell Paperbacks) + Mephistopheles: The Devil in the Modern World
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Product Details

  • Series: Cornell Paperbacks
  • Paperback: 356 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press (August 8, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080149429X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801494291
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #812,773 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"An attractively written survey of the way the devil appears in art, literature and treatise, during the medieval period, with many signs of an engaging sense of personal commitment to the subject, and an attempt to show its contemporary relevance."—John O. Ward, Journal of Religious History

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 41 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
This third installment in Dr. Russell's series (The Devil, Satan, Lucifer, Mephistopheles) comes to the Middle Ages, which means that we are well beyond source material in Canaanite and Jewish legend and now into the development of the devil in Patristic literature, and onwards.
On the plus side this is the historical period where Russell is an expert so you would expect it to be the strongest of the three volumes. On the minus side, in this volume, as with the others, one is constantly uneasy that the historical perspective is being underpinned by the author's own belief in a literal fallen heavenly being, and too often it is not clear whether the focus is medieval society or metaphysics.
Incidentally, anyone buying this book because of the word 'Lucifer' in the title will be disappointed that Russell does not address how the specific concept of 'Lucifer' developed from Origen and Augustine onwards. Neither here, nor in the previous volume 'Satan', does Dr Russell deal in any depth with the process by which a name which for the first 4 centuries of Christianity was used as a title of Christ (because the Latin word Lucifer appears in the Latin Vulgate as Peter's "day star"), to the point that early Christians used to name their children Lucifer (eg Bishop Lucifer of Cagliari), suddenly by the 5th and 6th centuries was being used as a title for a fallen angel (based on Isaiah 14:12 being reapplied).
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 7, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was a pleasure to read. Like the two previous volumes, Lucifer was an enlightenment. The evoultion of the "lightbearer" becomes more exciting as Russell progresses to the modern age. This volume, focusing on the Middle Ages, solitifies some philisophical beliefs of evil, matter and its representation in literature(specifically Dantes Inferno). I strongly recommend picking up this book(and reading it).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By The Old Wise Man on February 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
Lucifer is the third volume in the four volumes series, and above all other volumes this one is the most meticulous and authoritative, one can clearly see that this area is the author's area of expertise. Russell delves into the minds of the most influential thinkers of the time, explaining it as effortlessly as one would expect from an authority. The only complaint that I have is the same one that I have had for all the volumes, Russell fails to link was the leading theologians believed to what the populace believe, this I believe is a serious fault, because there is quite often a vast chasm between the two. Though Russell may not have intended to address this in his works, it seems to be a big part of the stated purview, after all, the population was part of the Middle Ages too.

Russell ends this volume with the chapter on "The Existence of the Devil". Here Russell puts forward his personal opinion and makes an impassioned plea for modern theology not to throw away the idea of the devil, however one may perceive him. Russell makes a very poignant point when he states; "The subtraction of the devil has in fact led some modern theologians to evade or trivialise evil. It is curious that at a time when evil threatens to engulf us totally, when evil has already claimed more victims in this century than in all previous centuries combined, that one hears less and less on the subject from theology. Any religion that does not come to terms with evil is not worthy of attention."
Having said this though, Russell goes on to state that the devil as an entity is not real, but that "the devil is a metaphor for the evil in the cosmos....We may now be in need of another name for this force." While these two views are not totally mutually exclusive, they are in some way contradictory.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Brian E. Erland HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on June 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
'Lucifer: The Devil in the Middle Ages' is the longest (356 pages) of Jeffrey Burton Russell four book treatise examining the concept of evil and the ever elusive Devil as he treks through his way through human history and consciousness. The time period of the Middle Ages is Russell's expertise and it shows in his research and his understanding of Medieval metaphysics.

The best thus far! Don't give up yet, only one books to go!!
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