- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Press (October 1, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1403969337
- ISBN-13: 978-1403969330
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 26 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,726 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Birth of Satan: Tracing the Devil's Biblical Roots Hardcover – September 15, 2005
"How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals" by Sy Montgomery
“This is a beautiful book — essential reading for anyone who loves animals and knows how much they can teach us about being human.” ― Gwen Cooper, author of "Homer’s Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat" Pre-order today
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
From Publishers Weekly
Where the devil did the devil come from? Wray, a Roman Catholic who teaches religious studies at Salve Regina University, and Mobley, a Protestant professor of Old Testament at Andover Newton Theological School, suggest that the early Hebrews struggled with the puzzle of a God who is the source of both good and evil. As Israel continued to evolve toward a clearer monotheism, it was considered prudent to cast off the negative characteristics of the one true God—which the authors call "repellant aspects of Yhwh")—and embody them in a personality who would become the biblical "Satan." Beginning with Genesis, the authors trace the development of "the devil" until he appears fully formed in the New Testament, where his role is "to serve as the cosmic scapegoat, saving God from blame for evil." Wray and Mobley pay particular attention to the beliefs of many of Israel's neighbors and their influence on her emerging faith in a cosmic evil being. Ultimately, they reject the concept of a personal Satan, but acknowledge its usefulness in dealing with the idea of evil. Written at a popular level, this book offers an interesting and challenging alternative to traditional beliefs. (Oct. 5)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
A recent Gallup poll revealed that a majority of Americans believe in Satan, aka, most commonly, Lucifer and Mephistopheles, but whatever the moniker, the devil, evil incarnate. Wray and Mobley find this ultimate villain's origins in a biblical character and in early Jewish and Christian writings outside of the scriptures. They try to understand why we as a species strive to feel fearful, why being frightened--vicariously, at least--is so appealing. Satan appears fewer than a dozen times in the Hebrew Bible, truly rising to prominence in the New Testament, especially in the Revelation, in which Satan manifests as Jesus' archrival. Wray and Mobley explain how that characterization came about, examine how Satan's image developed over the centuries, partly under the influence of such writings as Dante's Divine Comedy and Milton's Paradise Lost and investigate the centuries-long witch-hunt craze before advancing to contemporary times to inspect how religious doctrine and popular culture have affected images of the modern Satan. A thoughtful, informative examination. June Sawyers
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Satan in the Old Testament
Chronicled in pre-biblical traditions of neighbor civilizations merely as an imaginary symbol of corruption, the unformed Satan materializes in the Israelite literature. Devil, Hassatan, Mot, and a legion of diverse monsters emerged from the deepest fears of ancient people dwelling around Mesopotamia, where the citizens were in quest of finding a solid explanation for their dismays. Satan comes into view as a serpent in the Book of Genesis, then as an associate at the divine court in David's consensus and Job's loyalty audit tales. He is simply a force to blame at the moment of disaster or where a sin was committed. Far from the day when he "becomes the caretaker of a fiery postmortem torture chamber," he acted as the hand of God, thus he was responsible for Satan's deeds. Over centuries, the supreme shapeshifter distanced himself from his past to establish a new personification of evil.
Satan in Intertestamental Age
Succeeding the Intertestamental Age, Satan, the servant of God, departed the heavenly court to be given a humanistic frame, and eventually evolved into the Prince of Darkness in the New Testament. The two hundred years facing the Gospel of Matthew gave Satan a new depiction: Universal Destruction. Apocalyptic literature loomed in the Hebrew Bible from the Books of Job and Zechariah and onward. In this period, "Satan moved from the shadowy ranks of the cosmic courtiers to center stage as their fallen prince" to dwell amongst the pious who failed to reconcile their afflictions with the God their ancestors portrayed. On the other hand, the Book of Enoch, as well as Jubilee, narrates the story of Satan from a peculiar perspective where Semyaz, the Watcher of humans assigned by God, takes charge of the Watchers to mate with human women back in ages prior to the great flood. One of the angels, Azazel, leads the demons in eliminating God's creations with the help of the giants born out of human wombs. Overall, it may be said the political and cultural changes coming about Israelites of the Intertestamental period was depicted in the Jewish literature that endured for the next two hundred years throughout the books of the New Testament.
Satan in the New Testament
The premature Satan maintained his identity, reappeared in the New Testament, tempted Christ, betrayed Jesus through Judas, and misled early churches. This charismatic character set flames between Paul and the Jewish community of the time since Paul believes any soul against his thoughts a minister of the Devil. Finally, the Book of Revelation concludes the Biblical war between angels and demons, promising imminent doom of evil forces, a pledge based on mythical and political grounds of the first-century church distresses. John of Patmos raises the curtains for Satan’s last performance where he concludes the story of evil through the borrowed elements of intertestamental apocalyptic literature, this time by an archangel.
Encompassing the evolution of Satan since birth to his adolescence, two experts in the field shed light on the depth of beliefs to open a new dimension of religious knowledge. Religions observe God mostly through the looking glass of God, abandoning anything regarding the archvillain of the war - Satan. For many, even utterance of the name musters a shiver passing through their spine and is often avoided. Reading this book breaks the spell to expand the view from one-sided religious texts to the full picture of good and evil, as well as their connections. All in all, written with precision and depth of understanding, "The Birth of Satan: Tracing the Devil's Biblical Roots" is one of the most insightful and enticing books that altered my perception of Satan and changed my life permanently.
It's interesting to note the progression to Satan in the Hebrew Bible. Originally the word satan (small case s) is used in four of five instances to refer to a human element acting as an adversary. In one case in Numbers it refers to an angel. In the beginning we read of God or YHWH doing the saving and judging, or it is the "arm" or "hand" of God. But then later, in post-exilic times, we are introduced to the term hassatan or the satan who acts in behalf of God, sort of as an examiner of the integrity of pious mortals - now only one step removed for God. Finally in 1 Chronicles, also written after the exile, we meet Satan (proper noun) himself as an independently thinking entity.
We also learn about all the influence of Israel's neighbors that were instrumental in creating the image and characteristics we have come to associate with this deity. These include Mesopotamian, Canaanite, Egyptian, Greek, and especially the Persian Zoroastrianism. Early pre-Christian works such as the Book of Enoch, the Book of Jubilees and the Dead Sea Scrolls also made a contribution to New Testament ideas.
It is fascinating to learn about what the New Testament had to say about Satan and his reputed abode hell which is first mentioned here. Paul simply seems to imply that sinners will just cease to exist not mentioning hell at all. Mark makes the first mention of hell. Luke mentions hell, but not the dreaded caretaker. Matthew makes the first association of hell with Satan. As we eventually see, Satan makes his grand appearance in the apocalyptic book of Revelation.
This book was very interesting to read and it left me with a much better understanding of this great arch-enemy we've all heard about so much about.