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Publisher's Summary

Who is Satan in the New Testament, and what is the evil that he represents? In this groundbreaking book, Elaine Pagels, Princeton's distinguished historian of religion, traces the evolution of Satan from its origins in the Hebrew Bible, where Satan is at first merely obstructive, to the New Testament, where Satan becomes the Prince of Darkness, the bitter enemy of God and man, evil incarnate. In The Origin of Satan, Pagels shows that the four Christian gospels tell two very different stories. The first is the story of Jesus' moral genius: his lessons of love, forgiveness, and redemption. The second tells of the bitter conflict between the followers of Jesus and their fellow Jews, a conflict in which the writers of the four gospels condemned as creatures of Satan those Jews who refused to worship Jesus as the Messiah. Writing during and just after the Jewish war against Rome, the evangelists invoked Satan to portray their Jewish enemies as God's enemies too. As Pagels then shows, the church later turned this satanic indictment against its Roman enemies, declaring that pagans and infidels were also creatures of Satan, and against its own dissenters, calling them heretics and ascribing their heterodox views to satanic influences.
©1995 Elaine Pagels (P)2014 Audible Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Tibber on 07-20-15

well organized and thorough

Traced the occurrences of Satan and similar through Hebrew and Christian writings both biblical and non. Did not presume much foreknowledge so it was clear.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Ken on 01-18-15

interesting

loved it,very well done,was a pleasure to listen to, will definitely check out more of her books

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Teresa Cooper on 03-27-15

Satan or not Satan.

The book comes down to one fact. Whether you are Jewish, a Roman who worshipped many Gods or an early Christian. The author takes us for a walk through ancient history to watch a thread develop and evolve. Not quite what I expected from the title but still a fair look at two of the worlds oldest religions.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By dirk on 07-29-16

misled by title

was hoping/ thinking to learn of how the concept of Satan originated and then evolved. In stead this is more a story of very early Christianity. An interesting enough story which I listened to until the end. Excellent reader.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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