Kevin K's Reviews > The Origin of Satan: How Christians Demonized Jews, Pagans and Heretics
The Origin of Satan: How Christians Demonized Jews, Pagans and Heretics
Originally, "satan" was a Hebrew word that simply meant "adversary" or "enemy." For example, in the King James, we have: "And the LORD stirred up an adversary (=satan) unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite..."(1 Kings 11:14). Satan as the supernatural demigod we know today appears only a few times in the Old Testament, and there he's a shadowy figure whose status isn't very clear. I got curious about how "Satan" evolved through history into his current form, so I picked up this book. It does have some interesting information on Satan. However, that is not the focus of the book (and the main reason for my mediocre rating). It simply doesn't discuss the topic of Satan that much. On the other hand, I like Pagels' books a lot, and this book greatly enriched my understanding of the gospels and early Christianity. There are a lot of mechanics under the surface which she beautifully reveals. I'm especially moved by the incredible courage of the early Christians, like Justin Martyr, Origen, etc. Christianity was a completely different animal in the 1st and 2nd centuries. Many of the early church fathers, like Justin Martyr and Irenaeus were converted not by proselytizers, but by watching the quiet dignity of Christians facing torture and death in the Roman arena. Fascinating stories.
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