Rachael's Reviews > The Origin of Satan: How Christians Demonized Jews, Pagans and Heretics

The Origin of Satan by Elaine Pagels
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really liked it

Pagels gives an overview about how the concept of Satan, demons and evil more generally was used by the Jewish and then the Christian community. Rather than a detail of how the concept of Satan in particular evolved (though she does sketch this, just not in the hoped for detail) it's more an exploration of how Satan went from being one of God's employees, to associated with someone errant in the community, then being associated with Jews by Christians, and then Christians associating him with their own heretics. She discusses the evolving Christian interaction with the Jewish and Gentile communities via the gospel treatments. She also talks about how Christians began to understand pagans and their gods in demonic terms and contrasted that with the pagan view of them as spiritual elements.

Some things she covered, such as the Valentinian movement, and the attention to the Nag Hammadi writings, didn't seem all that relevant to the topic at hand, but I thought it was interesting anyway.
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Finished Reading
July 24, 2011 – Shelved

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