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The Complete Book of Devils and Demons - eBook
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The Complete Book of Devils and Demons by Leonard R. N. Ashley, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®
Seller Inventory GRP More information about this seller Contact this seller 6. Condition: Used: Good. More information about this seller Contact this seller 7. Published by Skyhorse Publishing. About this Item: Skyhorse Publishing. New copy - Usually dispatched within 2 working days. Seller Inventory B Those who are against Christ are identified as of The Devil's party. Certain Jewish groups are beginning to be demonized. This gets stronger in the three subsequent gospels.
Professor Pagels sees this anti-Semitism and the demonization of all sorts of enemies, real and imagined, the tendency to identify The Other with the work of The Devil, as still virulent in the world today. The evil may be not in The Other but inside ourselves, as the Gnostic gospel of Philip suggests. We may be projecting our own evil on the figure of The Devil. Voltaire is often quoted as saying that if God did not exist we would be forced to invent Him.
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The modern argument is that to a great extent The Devil as we know him is our invention. We made him up because we don't quite understand God. The Chronicle of Higher Education 14 July interviewed Professor Pagels at Princeton on her disturbing and debated scholarly findings and concluded with a mention that she had dismissed the movies Reservoir Dogs and The Bad Lieutenant as simplistic, "straight good and evil, black and white; you can't get much more blatant.
How an idea can "change its complexion" is noted in Witchcraft and Black Magic by Montague Summers, reprinted often since He's worth quoting at length on this:. Satanist, as is plain, means a devotee of Satan, a person who is regarded as an adherent and follower of Satan. It is significant however, and worth remembering that when first employed the word Satanist was equivalent to an atheist, and it is used in this sense by John Aylmer , who was Bishop of London under Queen Elizabeth.
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In his political pamphlet, An Harbour for Faithful and True Subjects, published in at Strassburg, where he was then living [because of Queen Mary's Catholicism], he speaks of Satanists, implying infidels and unbelievers generally Later the word became more restricted and changed its complexion, since, whatever else, the witch is certainly no atheist. In The Life of Mr. Lynn Linton, published in , the following passage occurs: "There are two sects, the Satanists and the Luciferists — and they pray to these names as Gods. Actually, there was a sect called Luciferians against whom Gregory IX loosed his anger, writing in Each year at Easter [time for the "Easter duty" of taking Holy Communion to retain one's membership in the Church] the sect members receive the host consecrated by a priest, hold it in their mouths, and returning home spit it into the latrines.
Finally, these blasphemers dare to assert that the God of Heaven condemned Lucifer out of jealousy, violence, and against all justice. These poor unfortunates believe that some day Lucifer will be restored to his place of glory. It is with him and not before him that they look to be granted eternal blessedness. They believe that they must take care to do nothing which would please God and contrariwise they behave in ways they know God will detest. This is a distinction without a difference, Satan and Lucifer being identically the same entity and power.
Charles H. Wright, sometime Grinfield lecturer on the Septuagint, Oxford, may say of Lucifer, "the word in Scripture has nothing to do with the devil," but he is wrong. In English, all accepted understanding and ordinary use are against him, and we parallel the words of Isaiah XIV, 12 , "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! Now, Isaiah may in fact be calling a defeated earthly king "Lucifer" in that gloating over a fall, but let that pass. The point is made by Russell's three books, with which we started here, that Satan, Lucifer, and Mephistopheles are three different names for the three very different ways we have personified the same evil over the centuries, reflecting shifts or modifications of "complexion" in the way we structure our personification of evil and anthropomorphize a force of which we are aware, reifying it with a name.
When we do not know the names of characters who may or may not be historical, like the Three Magi, we create names: Caspar, Balthazar, Melchior. We made one of them black, for political reasons, not because the Bible said so. Challenged to understand inhuman forces, we humanize them, name them, and start attributing to them such human characteristics as anger and jealousy and malice.
We make them into nasty people. That we can understand.
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Evil is real. The man with horns or bat wings is the creation of words. But "in the beginning was The Word" and out of that came God. Out of words The Devil came, too. He wrote of the fall of Satan:.