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The Devil: A New Biography

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  94 ratings  ·  20 reviews
"Although the Devil still 'lives' in modern popular culture, for the past 250 years he has become marginal to the dominant concerns of Western intellectual thought. That life could not be thought or imagined without him, that he was a part of the everyday, continually present in nature and history, and active at the depths of our selves, has been all but forgotten. It is ...more
Hardcover, 270 pages
Published September 11th 2014 by Cornell University Press (first published March 30th 2014)
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Average rating 3.44  · 
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Olga Kowalska (WielkiBuk)
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Rozkoszny i niebezpieczny, fascynujący i przerażający, znany i obcy – Diabeł w pracy Philipa C. Almonda miewa różnorodne oblicza, ale autor podkreśla, że jego znaczenia dla kultury Zachodu nie można ignorować. W „Diabeł. Nowa biografia” czytelnik znajdzie liczne odniesienie historyczne, literackie, teologiczne, zaznajomi się z dziesiątkami tytułów diabelskich monografii oraz innymi dziełami, które poruszają tę tematykę. To nie jest łatwa lektura, niemniej stanowi intrygujące dopełnienie dla ...more
Sanne
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bought-in-2018
A very detailed and thorough biography on the devil. The only point I disliked was the fact that it stopped rather abruptly after the seventeenth century, and the epilogue only summarised the remainder of the time period. Apart from that, it's rather well-documented and clearly written.
One other minor point is that some of the sources are less than academic and should have been used with slightly more caution than Almond used them with.
Mrs Lecter
Apr 14, 2018 rated it liked it
This was very interesting and I definitely want to do some further reading on this.
I thought the book was very well put together in terms of the timelines tying up with the different chapters.

My only problem was how quickly the author jumped around different quotes and references. I found myself rereading a lot of parts in order to work out what was being quoted.
Celia
Jul 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
...more
David
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
...more
Titus Hjelm
Sep 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
The subtitle of The Devil promises a ‘new biography’ (possibly an allusion to Henry Ansgar Kelly’s Satan: A Biography, CUP, 2006), although the book never quite explicitly argues what exactly makes it novel. Indeed, it is more of an attempt to straddle that elusive ground between the scholarly and the popular, and as such offers few new insights to those familiar with the field. The Devil tries to do a lot—perhaps too much—in the short space it has. It offers a condensed intellectual history ...more
Olaf Verboon
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting read on how the view and use of the devil has been prominent in Western Culture. Almond succeeds in navigating the reader around the lot of different perspectives on the devil through the ages.

Ome minor point of critique:
It is suggested that there would also be a part about how the devil is represented in modern culture. The covertext and also the opening quote from the Exorcist movie suggest that a bit. This is not the case. This book shows the activity of the devil from his early
...more
Mira
Oct 26, 2018 rated it did not like it
DNF: I had high hopes for this book when I first picked it up. I liked the idea. But, when I actually started reading the book I realised that the author only looks at the Devil through the lens of Christianity, which is nothing new to me. I know all these stories and theories. Not only those found in Christianity, but in all of the Abrahamic religions. And the book become tedious real fast, especially to someone who knows these stories and an atheist, such as myself.
A much better book on the
...more
Emily
Interesting tracking of the idea of the Devil thru western history.

Will probably use this as a textbook for my History of Satan course, but wish he tracked fewer authors but with greater detail. Wish there were more discussion of depictions of the Devil in art. Would love a reader to pair with this.
Anna
Feb 20, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Książka niezła i sprawnie napisana, ale raczej w sposób akademicki. Dla osób zainteresowanych tematem diabła, ale nie dla szukających taniej sensacji.
P
Mar 08, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a history of how the idea of the Devil has been invented and reinvented in Christian societies and theology. As such, it does a good job, and is a fairly entertaining read. I would have appreciated a wider context beyond Christianity, though.
MeriBeth
Jul 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Religious Scholars
An intensive and extensive survey of the history of the Devil in Western thought, The Devil: A New Biography is geared more toward scholars and academics then the lay reader. It delves deep into the traditions surrounding the personification of evil from the earliest days to the eighteenth century. The author decides to end his 'biography' of the Devil at roughly 1700 as he claims that the Devil is no longer important after the development of more modern scientific thought and investigation. As ...more
SpaceBear
Almond's big provides a theological history of the devil, from its origins in Jewish traditions, through its evolution in Christianity, the the point that Christianity ceased to rely on the concept of Satan as the embodiment of evil. A core of the book focuses on early Christian discussions of the devil, and there are interesting discussions of the issue of free will: if the devil was created to be evil, then how an the idea be anything but the creation of a malevolent God? Almond discusses ...more
Suzanne
Jun 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Received from NetGalley

Whew - this is not an easy read! I now know the true meaning of "exhaustively researched". Since I am not an academic, I will only be able to review this from the point-of-view of the UNintended audience.

The first 30% was a bit of work for me to navigate. After moving into the witch hysteria of the Middle Ages, the author's style seeped in, and while perhaps not his intention in this scholarly work, made it more readable for me. Likewise, the author does provide as sense
...more
Drew Martin
Demons, devils, and other hellish creatures are central to the Halloween season. You could read The Devil: A New Biography any time, but when I saw it on the shelf at my local library, I thought now was as good a time as any. That said, there’s never a good time to read this book. It has nothing to do with the subject from a religious point of view, and everything to do with the book itself. I wasn’t certain what I would get, but I had a few expectations. Unfortunately, I’m adding this book to ...more
Axel
Sep 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
As many other reviews state, this book has a tendency of being on the edge of overly repetitive at times. However, the insight it detailed gives about the lores and smaller stories put inside the first books of the Bible, stories such as the ones from Kasper etc. give a great and fresh interest in further studying of the history of Christianity and older Jewish history. I recommend this book to the reader with an interest in religion and history, and dares themselves to explore the more cult ...more
Mary Gail O'Dea
Feb 18, 2015 rated it liked it
This book was well reviewed, but I found it too repetitive to hold my interest.
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