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The Origin of Satan

Pagels, Elaine H.

5,261 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0679401407 / ISBN 13: 9780679401407
Published by Random House, New York, 1995
Used Condition: Very Good Hardcover
From Owl & Company Bookshop (Calvello Books) (Oakland, CA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Large octavo in black cloth in black and gilt jacket (mostly black spine); 214 pp., 25 cm. In English. || Inscribed by author on title page; Abstract: "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."-jacket. Very good copy in good jacket; the jacket looks lightly to moderately edgeworn and shelf-rubbed; front flap has a 5" diagonal crease; very light rubbing and small tears to open corners at the flap folds; on the verso jacket there is an obvious liquid incident that caused dye from the cloth to stain the lower half of the spine; cloth is also faded in that spot; liquid damage not visible on the outside of the jacket; other light visible stains to verso jacket and tape reinforcement to one of the flap folds; overall jacket is very much still attractive and in one piece; cloth is a bit dust soiled at the spine ends and along the top edge; light foxing along top edge of leaves; pages 34-40 have a light fingerprint stain from handling; pages 168-169 have a light foodlike stain to the bottom edge of the pages; overall this collectible copy is still attractive with most pages being clean, crisp, bright and free of marks and creases; binding is tight and square; gently loved but more loved in some places. Bookseller Inventory # 85773

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Origin of Satan

Publisher: Random House, New York

Publication Date: 1995

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: good

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: First edition (stated).

About this title

Synopsis:

From the religious historian whose The Gnostic Gospels won both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award comes a dramatic interpretation of Satan and his role on the Christian tradition. With magisterial learning and the elan of a born storyteller, Pagels turns Satan's story into an audacious exploration of Christianity's shadow side, in which the gospel of love gives way to irrational hatreds that continue to haunt Christians and non-Christians alike.
From the Trade Paperback edition.

Review:

. . . ground-breaking . . . Many times in the course of reading her explications I found myself saying, "Of course, why hasn't someone said this before?" By showing how the sectarian demonization of the "intimate enemies"--Jews and heretics--shaped early Christianity, the book helps us to understand the power of irrational forces that still need to be confronted in contemporary society. -- S. David Sperling, professor of Bible, Hebrew Union College

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