philip c. almond. The Devil: A New Biography. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2014. Pp. xviii 270. The devil, and the underlying principle of evil he is often thought to signify, are perennially fascinating objects of study. Thriving at the cusp between the demonstrable and the metaphorical, the devil has long attracted the attention of theologians, poets, artists, and story tellers. Philip C. Almond's biography of the devil in the Western tradition presents a fresh take on the topic, accessible to both researchers and popular audiences alike. Almond's knowledge of the material is unimpeachable, his selection of topics and examples is judicious, and his style is engaging and precise. Historical conceptualizations of the devil have been diverse and contradictory. Almond attributes this to a fundamental tension in the very idea of a cosmic antagonist within a monotheistic religion: Satan is called upon to serve at once as God's antagonist, and as the unwitting prosecutor of God's will on earth. He is seen as opposing God's will, and indeed, is sometimes seen as the source of all that opposes God's will. Yet all of that must be reconciled to a worldview in which all that God created was created good
Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft – University of Pennsylvania Press
Published: Jun 16, 2016
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