The Origin of Satan

  • by Elaine Pagels
  • Narrated by Suzanne Toren
  • 8 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Nice, but not what I was expecting

The title of this book is misleading. It should be called "we demonize the other guys." Best chapter was the one on the Pagans. I listened to the end despite realizing it was not what I was expecting. This would be more of interest to you if you want to hear about the early Christian church.
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- Tim

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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- A. Haase

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-28-2014
  • Publisher: Audible Studios