Satan: A Biography by Henry Ansgar KellySatan: A Biography by Henry Ansgar Kelly

Satan: A Biography

byHenry Ansgar Kelly

Paperback | August 14, 2006

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Christians traditionally think of Satan as Lucifer, God's enemy, who rebelled against Him out of pride and then caused Adam and Eve to sin. But, as Kelly shows, this portrayal is not biblical but a scenario invented by the early Fathers of the Church which became the 'New Biography of Satan'. The 'Original Biography' must be reconstructed from the New Testament where Satan is the same sort of celestial functionary we see in the Book of Job - appointed to govern the world, specifically to monitor and test human beings. But he is brutal and deceitful in his methods, and Jesus predicts that his rule will soon come to an end. Kelly traces the further developments of the 'New Biography': humankind's inherited guilt, captivity by Satan, and punishment in Hell at his hands. This profile of Satan remains dominant, but Kelly urges a return to the 'Original Biography of Satan'.
Henry Ansgar Kelly is Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Department of English and Director of the Center of Medieval Studies, UCLA.
Title:Satan: A BiographyFormat:PaperbackDimensions:374 pages, 8.98 × 5.98 × 0.87 inPublished:August 14, 2006Publisher:Cambridge University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0521604028

ISBN - 13:9780521604024


Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting overview of Satan Kelly's book follows the figure of Satan from its origins in various religions to its appearance in popular culture. At times, Kelly's language and way of presenting are mundane, but the topic is interesting enough in itself to get through some 350 pages. I recommend this book to anyone who has ever wondered how Lucifer, the bringer of light and wisdom has been translated into such a negative figure in most modern societies.
Date published: 2007-10-02

Table of Contents

List of illustrations; List of abbreviations; Introduction; Part I. Hebrew Backgrounds: 1. The Old Testament; 2. Apocryphal works and the Dead Sea Scrolls; Part II. The New Testament: Satan Comes Into His Own: 3. St. Paul, the first Christian writer; 4. The four Gospels; 5. Later Epistles; 6. The apocalypse of John the Divine; 7. Putting the New Testament together: a composite portrait of Satan in canonical order; Part III. Satan and Adam: 8. Satan's original sin: felling Adam; Part IV. The Rise of the Fallen Lucifer: 9. Lucifer and the new biography of Satan; 10. Satan and the human race; 11. Theorizing Satan; 12. Satan in literature and art; Part V. Satan in the Modern World: 13. Temptation and possession; 14. Doubts and affirmations; Summary and conclusion; Index of passages; General index.

Editorial Reviews

"K.'s chronological and historical approach makes a useful contribution to the understanding of Christian images of Satan and will be of interest to historians, theologians, and individuals interested in religious studies and the humanities in general." --J. Edward Wright, University of Arizona, Tucson: The Catholic Bible Quarterly