[Name Redacted By Goodreads Because Irrelevant to Review]'s Reviews > The Demise of the Devil: Magic and the Demonic in Luke's Writings

The Demise of the Devil by Susan R. Garrett
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UPDATE 4: Long story made short, this book makes a lot of interesting and genuinely thought-provoking points, but doesn't really follow up on any of them; most of the book is dedicated to the author's interpretations and claims, which are hit-or-miss at best. I recommend it for someone already well familiar with the study of magic and the demonic in antiquity and already well familiar with the study of the Lukan texts. Someone with such familiarity will be able to suss out the interesting and important points without being taken in by her personal views disguised as scholarship. It is most valuable for its bibliography. Otherwise, i can't really recommend it.

UPDATE 3: The second chapter was...unconvincing. That was the main take away for me. She avoided much of the tiresome sociology, but then started presenting her personal interpretations of the text and its history; at that point the book sank in quality (as did the endnotes). Her argument that Luke/Acts depicts and predicts Satan as the one sitting at God's right hand, being deposed by Christ, and fighting Jesus & his followers as a result; as well as her interpretation of the Christian community's trajectory in the two texts as exhibiting a back-and-forth battle between Jesus' side and Satan's side, complete with spiritual and literal losses on both sides... Well, it reads at points less like a scholarly analysis and more like a pseudepigraphal document itself. Given how much time she wastes in the first 60 pages, I'm worried about what she can possibly hope to achieve in the remaining 49.

UPDATE 2: Garrett's book has an interesting introductory premise, but unfortunately wastes much of the first 40 pages talking about sociology. When she isn't rehearsing the long history of sociology, her discussion of Luke/Acts and the historical context of its presentation of magic is interesting.

UPDATE 1: This book fails one of the key tests for academic literature - the author uses endnotes. What is more, they are LONG, DENSE endnotes. The endnotes, in fact, take up nearly half of the book and are all absolutely essential to understanding the main text. I was once told in a middle school English class that the use of parenthetical asides in a paper was the equivalent of passing gas loudly in the middle of giving a speech. I have never bought into that, but upon encountering the horror of academic endnotes I certainly see where that teacher was coming from. When one reads a sentence of the main text, then flips to a completely different page to read two paragraphs, then flips back to read the following sentence...well, it makes very little sense and it feels very clumsy. I detest this. I will take footnotes over endnotes any day of the week.
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09/06/2011 page 3
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