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Satan: The Early Christian Tradition (Cornell Paperbacks) Paperback – 25 Aug 1987

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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£12.50 FREE Delivery in the UK. Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we dispatch the item. Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
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Product details

  • Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press; 1st New edition edition (25 Aug. 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801494133
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801494130
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 1.7 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 619,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Russell has complete mastery of his material, and the book's sweep is grand - a tour of the first five centuries of Christian intellectual history with the spotlight on the villain instead of the hero. . . . Satan is a vaulable introduction to the theological portion of the Western Devil tradition." Speculum"

"Drawing extensively on earlier scholarly literature, as well as his own original research in complex source materials, Russell has offered a coherent account of the development of a tradition in Christian thought that should be of great interest to specialists and nonspecialists alike. Although Russell would be the very last to claim that he can draw out leviathan with a hook, he has competently and diligently drawn out an image of leviathan that takes a respectable place in the literature of early church history." American Historical Review"

"Russell has complete mastery of his material, and the book's sweep is grand: a tour of the first five centuries of Christian intellectual history with the spotlight on the villain instead of the hero. . . . Satan is a valuable introduction to the theological portion of the Western Devil tradition." Speculum"

"Drawing extensively on earlier scholarly literature, as well as his own original research in complex source materials, Russell has offered a coherent account of the development of a tradition in Christian thought that should be of great interest to specialists and nonspecialists alike. Although Russell would be the very last to claim that he can draw out leviathan with a hook, he has competently and diligently drawn out an image of leviathan that takes a respectable place in the literature of early church history." American Historical Review

"

"Russell has complete mastery of his material, and the book's sweep is grand: a tour of the first five centuries of Christian intellectual history with the spotlight on the villain instead of the hero. . . . Satan is a valuable introduction to the theological portion of the Western Devil tradition." Speculum

"

About the Author

Jeffrey Burton Russell (Ph.D., Emory University) was a histoJeffrey Burton Russell (Ph.D., Emory University) was a history professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara ry professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara from 1979-1998 where he is now a professor of history, emerifrom 1979-1998 where he is now a professor of history, emeritus. He also taught at the University of Mexico, Harvard, Untus. He also taught at the University of Mexico, Harvard, University of California in Riverside, Notre Dame, and Califoriversity of California in Riverside, Notre Dame, and CaliforC


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Russell's book - one of a series written about the concept of the Devil - is concerned with the nature of evil in the world. However, while the book addresses the problem of evil it does not pretend to be able to solve it. Indeed, it recognises the fundamental disagreements over the nature of evil and its existence in theological interpretations of the cosmos.

Unlike critics of religion, who attribute evil to religious practice and opinion, Russell points out that the problem of evil transcends religion. Evil, rather like the concept of the Devil, has been used by human beings to attribute evil to anything and anybody who is opposed to particular individuals or groups in the human world. Irrespective of what John Lennon suggested in his song "Imagine" if the world was full of atheists with "no religion too" evil would still exist.

Which raises the question of what evil is and how it can exist in a world created by an all knowing, all loving God? In fact any convincing idea of God must carry with it an ability to account for good and evil in the world. The Devil, whether portrayed as a fallen angel or a spirit who chose through free will to ignore God's commands, is a concept for dealing with metaphysical ideas of objective reality which cannot, by their very nature, be established other than by conviction and belief. As Russell points out, "in human affairs the truth is often inversely proportional to the certitude with which it is stated." Hence the need to evaluate by reference to history.

Concepts which have developed historically should be read in their historical context and identified by that context and development.
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