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The Birth of Satan: Tracing the Devil's Biblical Roots: Turning the Devil's Biblical Roots Hardcover – 31 Oct 2005

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (31 Oct. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1403969337
  • ISBN-13: 978-1403969330
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2 x 21.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,188,215 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

'...the authors provide an introduction to the authorship, formation , structure and context of the Bible...they include personal testimonies, entertaining comments and modern illustrations...this book would serve as a beneficial introduction to 'Satan', summary of works about him, and catalyst for conversation.' - J.R. Dodson, The University of Tubingen, European Journal of Theology

About the Author

T. J. WRAY is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Salve Regina University, USA. She is the author of Surviving the Death of a Sibling and Grief Dreams and lives in Newport Beach, Rhode Island, USA.

GREGORY MOBLEY is Associate Professor at Andover Newton Theological School, USA. He lives in Newton Centre, Massachusetts, USA.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I first opened the package, I was surprised that The Birth of Satan was so slender. The book is only 180 pages (ex the 23 pages of notes and resource list) and I read it in two sittings. When I finished, I was again surprised that Wray and Mobley (both theology professors) managed to tell such a richly detailed historical account in so few pages.

I've read quite a few voluminous tombs about the Abrahamic traditions, but this one was very impressive. I'm still puzzled at how the authors managed to insert so much clear information into my little brain so (seemingly) effortlessly. Pact with......?

Long story short: excellent!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I used this book as a secondary source for my MA essay and found it quite useful. It gives an interesting view of Satan's coming to existence, with quite a lot of detail. The tone of the book is sometimes sarcastic and at times even funny, and in general it's easy to read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Literally as it says on the title. The book looks at Satan's role in the bible. Does not include lore and myth that grows up around him. Recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 20 reviews
77 of 79 people found the following review helpful
THE book on Satan is out! 26 Nov. 2005
By Marc S. Mullinax - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is an absolute triumph of a book, the one I've been wanting to read for a long, long time.

The Devil has made, for over 2000 years, a good story, and this book tells us why. Using the tools of religion, history, theology, and culture, authors Wray and Mobley offer the general and religious reader alike a conceptually fresh, extremely well-written, and relatively short history of the role Satan has played. This playground includes our literature, religious imaginations, everyday conversations, and religious literature.

The strengths of this book include:

1) Mobley is a gifted Hebrew Bible scholar who understands the pre-Christian world, including its manifold non-biblical writings that held traction in this world. With his co-author this book makes the case that there have been many two-bit ideas of Satan through the years, mostly inchoate and undeveloped (and not that powerful), until a largely single image of the High King of Hell emerges in early Christianity.

2) Powerful summaries throughout the chapters, culminating in a final chapter that is a rare tour de force in synthesis, breadth of insight - and brevity. In that chapter, the reader will get a well-developed job description for Satan.

3) The reader will be invited to think deeply about monotheism, and how that very enticing theological position may have itself led to the birth of Satan as an unintended consequence. The thoughtful reader should anticipate the authors' examination of the more peculiar and distasteful aspects the Bible and God.

4) Conceptually fresh imagery. For example, Chapter Two's introduction of God as "Godfather" is a strikingly unique way the authors get the readers to understand God as the early Jews may have. This is just one of scores of helpful images.

The authors have made in this short book a landmark contribution to popular understanding about the many factors that contributed to Satan's metamorphosis from a third-rank adversary or stumbling block in the Hebrew scriptures to the Titan of Evil in the Christian era. This kind of intelligence is critical in our times.
36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
Must Read! 11 Jan. 2006
By R. Ballard - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
As someone who read (and was helped by) T J Wray's first two books ("Surviving the Death of a Sibling: Living Through Grief When an Adult Brother or Sister Dies" and "Grief Dreams: How They Help Heal Us After the Death of a Loved One") and as a religious studies teacher, I was eager to read Wray's newest book, "The Birth of Satan." I received a copy for Christmas and was delighted to find the same accessible and creative writing style that is TJ Wray's trademark. But beyond the wonderful writing is a book that has real substance. Wray, along with co-author Gregory Mobley (both are biblical scholars who really know their stuff!) trace the Devil's beginnings from a rather benign character in the Old Testament to the more popular form of Satan that we are familiar with in the New Testament. I found the chapters on God and hell most interesting and the discussion on the role monotheism played insofar as the development of Satan is concerned quite illuminating. Although this is a non-fiction book, it's so well-written, it almost reads like a novel. It's a "must read" for anyone curious about the development of Satan.
25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Satan For Dummies ..... And Not So Dumb 14 Jan. 2007
By Stephen H. Jay - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Several of the other reviews written on this book have accurately described the detail and scope of this great study into the origin and evolution of the satan myth from a more scholarly perspective. They are absolutely correct, and obviously much smarter than I am. The material is complete, well-documented, expertly layed out, and delivered in a way accessible to everyone.

So instead of talking about the books more scholarly aspects, let me approach it from the direction of an average schmoe who doesn't have a philosophy degree and might believe in the existence of the devil.

This book is still for you. The subject of Satan is treated with a kind of respect, and deservedly so. After all, here we have a persona that is of major influence in every westerners life, whether you believe in him or not. Satan, or the idea of Satan, has influenced both our deep history and our modern culture in astonishing ways. As Joseph Campbell, a noted mythologist, once said, "The Devil is more important than God in some ways. He justifys every nasty thing we've ever done to anyone else" (paraphrased).

Here's the point I'm trying to make: Satan has his place in our world and his authentic role in our culture. He went from a sort of 'messenger' in the first five books of the bible to the 'Great Advesary' in the new testatment. He evolved from an unsophisticated instrument of the 'court of heaven' to a complex figure that opposes and subverts the will of God. He has been a teacher, a rebel, a lover, a creator, a transgressor, and a major transfiguring force in history. His name has been used to move nations, scare children, massacre millions, and make movies. Whether you believe he is a concrete fact or a metaphor of change, Satan is here, he is now, and he's not going away anytime soon. Do you doubt it? Read this book, and you'll never doubt again.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
An Excellent Discussion on the Origins of Satan 24 Feb. 2008
By Randolph Eck - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Recently, I completed the study of a number of books on early Christianity in my quest to understand what transpired during those formative years. When I came across this book on God's arch enemy Satan and his origin, my curiosity was piqued about how this entity came to be associated with Christianity.

It's interesting to note the progression to Satan in the Hebrew Bible. Originally the word satan (small case s) is used in four of five instances to refer to a human element acting as an adversary. In one case in Numbers it refers to an angel. In the beginning we read of God or YHWH doing the saving and judging, or it is the "arm" or "hand" of God. But then later, in post-exilic times, we are introduced to the term hassatan or the satan who acts in behalf of God, sort of as an examiner of the integrity of pious mortals - now only one step removed for God. Finally in 1 Chronicles, also written after the exile, we meet Satan (proper noun) himself as an independently thinking entity.

We also learn about all the influence of Israel's neighbors that were instrumental in creating the image and characteristics we have come to associate with this deity. These include Mesopotamian, Canaanite, Egyptian, Greek, and especially the Persian Zoroastrianism. Early pre-Christian works such as the Book of Enoch, the Book of Jubilees and the Dead Sea Scrolls also made a contribution to New Testament ideas.

It is fascinating to learn about what the New Testament had to say about Satan and his reputed abode hell which is first mentioned here. Paul simply seems to imply that sinners will just cease to exist not mentioning hell at all. Mark makes the first mention of hell. Luke mentions hell, but not the dreaded caretaker. Matthew makes the first association of hell with Satan. As we eventually see, Satan makes his grand appearance in the apocalyptic book of Revelation.

This book was very interesting to read and it left me with a much better understanding of this great arch-enemy we've all heard about so much about.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Very Textbook Oriented 18 Dec. 2008
By Samantha L. Sayre - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book was a great concept. It helped me to understand what I had learned growing up about Satan. Was it Biblical or not? Was it literature? This book explores is Satan real or is he just made up by people so that God isn't seen as doing things to humans that are bad. It goes into the fact that most people want to believe that God is a loving god but not the punishing vengeful god, so was Satan created to combat that? The book starts off asking all these questions and more. Then it explores Satan in the Old Testament, between the testaments and then in the New Testament. It goes through the passages and what was going on at that time. It also talks about where the concept of hell comes from. Is it the Book of Revelation or is it from Dante's Inferno or Milton's Paradise Lost? I found it to be fascinating. However, I was shocked in parts to find that it was wrote almost like a textbook in places and on a higher level than I was ready for. I would recommend this book to people wanting to think on a deeper religious level.
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