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Devil, The: A New Biography [Kindle Edition]

Philip C. Almond

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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

'Lucid... coolly analytical... As Almond points out, in popular culture the Devil still repeatedly rides out.'
Lucy Hughes-Hallett, The Times<br ><br >'Almond tells this complicated story succinctly and clearly, taking us through all the twists and turns with an unwavering eye.'
Peter Stanford, The Tablet<br ><br >'Philip Almond charts Satan's 'life' from slightly confusing origins in the Bible to full-blown maturity as the cloven-footed devil of the Middle Ages. Almond sheds new light on the prince of darkness.'
Marcus Tanner, Independent<br ><br >'The Devil has had a number of biographies over the years... any future ones will have to be measured against this latest excellent work…scholarly and readable, both a sound theological study and a fascinating examination of the role of the Devil through human history.' (
The Catholic Herald)

'Philip Almond's new book is a triumph of the simple exposition of complex concepts. With humour and charm, it proceeds accessibly from the earliest Jewish writings on demons to eighteenth-century attempts to challenge the belief that Satan was active in human affairs. Angels, giants, demoniacs, witches and divines fill its pages, and the breadth of research informing the book is impressively broad. Yet the text is informal and readable. Almond has made theology and demonology approachable and his account rips along. Readers will find a wealth of great stories recounted here. The book also provokes serious thought about the process of demonising groupings belonging to despised sects or social groups, and the terrible consequences of regarding other people as agents of the devil. This is an entertaining and informative read.' (
Marion Gibson, Associate Professor of Renaissance and Magical Literatures, University of Exeter)

Kurzbeschreibung

It is often said that the devil has all the best tunes. He also has as many names as he has guises. Lucifer, Mephistopheles, Beelzebub (in Christian thought), Ha-Satan or the Adversary (in Jewish scripture) and Iblis or Shaitan (in Islamic tradition) has throughout the ages and across civilizations been a compelling and charismatic presence. For two thousand years the supposed reign of God has been challenged by the fiery malice of his opponent, as contending forces of good and evil have between them weighed human souls in the balance. In this rich and multi-textured biography, Philip C Almond explores the figure of the devil from the first centuries of the Christian era through the rise of classical demonology and witchcraft persecutions to the modern post-Enlightenment ‘decline’ of Hell. The author shows that the Prince of Darkness, in all his incarnations, remains an irresistible subject in history, religion, art, literature and culture.

Produktinformation

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 6083 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 288 Seiten
  • Verlag: I.B.Tauris; Auflage: 1 (30. April 2014)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B00K6I6MWQ
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Nicht aktiviert
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #620.951 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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8 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Not a light book-it is an academic book but very interesting. 4. August 2014
Von Celia - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
The book is not really a “biography” rather it is about the history of thought about the Devil from the beginning of Christianity until about two hundred fifty years ago when according to the author he became much less important in Western culture.

While, I learned a lot from this book it not the easiest book to read. It is intended to be a scholarly book and it is put out by an academic publishing company. Some of the West’s greatest theologians, religious leaders and philosophers tried to understand the nature of the Devil. Also in Demonology as any other aspect of study there are contrasting points of views. An example of a belief that has been of subject of controversy in Demonology is whether than Devil is purely spiritual or whether he has a corporal existence.

However, until I read this book I really had no idea of whom the Devil was. Of course, I knew he was a supernatural force of evil and I read about him in literature. I played the Devil in school in play The Devil and Daniel Webster but I did not know about his origins. I was raised in a very liberal Reform Jewish environment where I was told that Jews did not believe in angels, demons/Satan and miracles.

According to this book, the Devil/Satan/Lucifer was an angel who turned against God. Before the world and humans were created God and Angels existed. Lucifer/Satan turned against God of his own free will and choice evil. About a third of the angels sided with Satan. These angels became demons. There was some controversy in early Christianity whether the Devil could ever repent but most demonologists seem to think this was not possible. Demons floated throughout the air and could possess humans.

Many Christians thought the serpent who tempted Eve was Satan in the Old Testament. The book describes Satan’s role in the New Testament much of which I did not understand since I am not that familiar with the New Testament since I am not Christian. However, I learn that Christians believed that during Christ’s second coming Satan and his followers will be sent forever to hell.

Nowadays when people speak of “demonizing” one’s political opponents it is usually meant as a metaphor and not meant to be taken at face value. However, the early Christians felt that Devil working through opponents of Christianity and this where the idea of "demonizing" the opposition started.

Magic slowly becomes connected to Satan. St. Augustine believed that all magic was the work of the Devil. If my understanding of the book is correct Thomas Aquinas and some later Christians said the Devil was only involved in magic if Satan was called to assist with the magic being performed.

Satan worshiping starts developing in about the twelve century. Then the book describes how witches were understood by the Catholics and later by the Protestants. Witches originally could either be male or female but in time were seen as mostly female. Witches were believed to have made a pact with Satan and renounced Christianity as part of their agreement with Satan. Witches were believed to kill children and then smear the children’s fat onto an object so they could fly.
The Devil was believed to have had sex with the witches. There are some pretty hot sex scenes described between the Devil and the Witches. There was controversy on whether the Devil could have sex with men. Early Demonologists felt that since the Devil was a fallen angel he still possessed some angelic traits. Therefore, he would not want to commit sodomy (i.e. anal and non-reproductive sex). However, later Demonologists disagreed and felt the Devil could be bisexual.
Again there was various controversies about Witches and their nature. When the Reformation came to Europe there were Protestants and Catholics have differing ideas about how to handle both Witches and persons who were possessed by the Devil.

Even though most Protestants at the start of the Reformation believed in the Devil, the Reformation contributed to an intellectual climate where the belief in Devil could be challenged. Many Protestants believed miracles stopped happening after the year 300(this belief in part was to undercut the authority of the miracles of the Catholic Church). With this questioning of miracles and a stronger belief in science major thinkers such and Spinoza and Hume started to question the existence of the Devil.

I was a bit disappointed that the book stopped at 1700 because I was left with many questions about what happened to the Devil after that time. How did Witches become acceptable in children’s stories? The early description of Witches seem to me to be for only for Adults. How did “magic” become acceptable as children’s entertainment?
Also the author left me the impression that Devil was like the Greek or Roman Gods; no one believes in him now. I don’t think this is true. The Devil has standing in some Christian Churches and in Boston I know there are some Devil worshiping societies. I wished the author could give some kind of roundup of the Devil’s present standing in the world.

Thus, I the book The Devil: A New Biography has some highly interesting materials it is an academic book and not a light or easy read.
5.0 von 5 Sternen An Accessible, Breezy Introduction to Old Nick 15. Februar 2015
Von David S. Wellhauser - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
What Philip C. Almond offers in The Devil: A New Biography is

“a new ‘life’ of the Devil, one that locates his life within the broader Christian story which it is inextricably a part.”

Almond’s biography gives the reader a secular history of Old Nick and as such it is written from a non-believer’s perspective, but this isn’t to suggest it is hostile to its subject matter. Often when secularists have written of Faith, any Faith, there is a sense of hostility overtly presented, or it is very near the surface. Not so with Philip Almond’s The Devil. If the author isn’t, precisely, sympathetic to the belief system then he is at minimum articulate and non-judgement.

The author’s ‘biography’ charts the Devil from its earliest manifestations through Judaic, Biblical, and extra-Biblical traditions [theological, cultural, and philosophic]. Even those raised within the Christian tradition will find something here. Primarily, nonetheless, this is a history for those who were raised in a secular environment. The reason secularists would find this text particularly useful is that much of the Western cultural traditions are bound up with Christianity and the Devil is a major feature of the Faith. Therefore, if you wish to understand the Dark Ages, Medieval, Renaissance, and Early Modern Europe it will be necessary, essential, to know of the tradition[s] of the Devil.

This book fills the vacancy left by strident secularism and the prissy New Atheists.

Stylistically, it is breezy and jargon free. Because of this the reader needn’t spend much time with anything but the text proper.

Highly Recommended for readers of European cultural/religious history and Colonial/Post-Colonial histories. Readers of mythology will also find a great deal to recommend itself here as well.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.
4.0 von 5 Sternen An unbiased piece of scholarly work. Very informative if a little dry. 17. Februar 2015
Von Silivina Stamati - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
The book is not as much a "biography" of the Devil as it is the history of thinking about the Devil and demonic possession. The Devil's "biography" -that is, his story from "birth" to "death or eternal confinement"- as told in the Bible is mostly contained in the first one or two chapters. That is a good thing, since the interesting part is how people have interpreted it over the years, from the early church days, through the dark and middle ages, to the renaissance and modernity. It all really seems like humanity's early attempts at science.

The author writes in an unbiased way, presenting the facts (mostly the IDEAS about the devil acting in the world) as reported by the philosophers and theologians of each time period. In other words, Mr. Almond does not let his personal religious beliefs or lack of them to show at all. This book should offend no one, it is a mere piece of scholarly work. Of course, any sane and rational person will realize all these "demonic theological interpretations" are made up, and that is the fun I got from it.

At 220 pages, it is a welcome change from all the 400+ page books out there that fail to hold your attention past the mid point.
5.0 von 5 Sternen Great in depth study of the prince of darkness 25. Dezember 2014
Von jokerjonj - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Great in depth study of the prince of darkness. From all prospectives. A great study tool for anyone in ministry.
0 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Academic book we are studying on Wednesday nights at our ... 6. September 2014
Von Seasoned with Grace - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Academic book we are studying on Wednesday nights at our church. Our pastor is also a professor and finds unique studies for us.
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