It is often said that the devil has all the best tunes. He also has as many names as he has guises. Lucifer, Mephistopheles, Beelzebub (in Christian thought), Ha-Satan or the Adversary (in Jewish scripture) and Iblis or Shaitan (in Islamic tradition) has throughout the ages and across civilizations been a compelling and charismatic presence. For two thousand years the supposed reign of God has been challenged by the fiery malice of his opponent, as contending forces of good and evil have between them weighed human souls in the balance. In this rich and multi-textured biography, Philip C Almond explores the figure of the devil from the first centuries of the Christian era through the rise of classical demonology and witchcraft persecutions to the modern post-Enlightenment 'decline' of Hell. The author shows that the Prince of Darkness, in all his incarnations, remains an irresistible subject in history, religion, art, literature and culture.
'This fascinating - and tragic - account of his influence through history will be a real eye-opener to anyone who supposes that the inconvenience of his not existing would limit the damage the Devil could do. Fundamentally, the Devil owes his powers to the problem of reconciling God's goodness with God's omnipotence. Following with deep learning a trail of confusion, dogmatism and persecution, Philip Almond in his vivid biography convincingly demonstrates that the Devil was, and is, a very bad idea.' - Jill Paton Walsh, author of Knowledge of Angels, shortlisted for the Booker Prize
Philip C Almond is Emeritus Professor of Religion in the University of Queensland. His previous books include The Witches of Warboys: An Extraordinary Story of Sorcery, Sadism and Satanic Possession (2008), England's First Demonologist: Reginald Scot and 'The Discoverie of Witchcraft' (2011) and The Lancashire Witches: A Chronicle of Sorcery and Death on Pendle Hill (2012), all published by I.B.Tauris.
List of IllustrationsAcknowledgementsPrologueChapter One: The 'Birth' of the Devil Angels and Demons, Sons and Lovers'The Book of the Watchers'Angels, Arising and FallingThe Birth of 'Satan'The Archdemon BelialSatan and JesusThe Fall of the DragonChapter Two: The Fall of the Devil The Fall of Man The Satanic Serpent Pride Cometh before a Fall Lucifer DescendingThe Battleground of HistoryChapter Three: Hell's Angel Paying Off the Devil The Demonic Paradox The Harrowing of Hades In Hell, and in the Air Chapter Four: The Devil Rides Out A Pope Bewitched Cathars, Moderate and Extreme Angels and Demons The Demonisation of Magic Magic Defined, Damned, and Defended Conjuring Demons and Conversations with AngelsChapter Five: Devilish Bodies The Demonisation of Popular Magic Errors Not Cathartic but Satanic The Devil, Sex and Sexuality Embodied DemonsChapter Six: The Devil and the Witch Infanticide and Cannibalism Travels Sabbatical The Satanic Pact The Devil's MarkChapter Seven: A Very Possessing Devil The Possessed Body Possession, Medicine, and Sceptics Forensic Demonology Beyond the Borders of the Human Exorcising the Devil Chapter Eight: The Devil Defeated The Binding and Loosing of Satan The Antichrist Adso and the Antichrist The Future Binding of Satan Apocalypse Now Satan and the Fires of HellChapter Nine: The 'Death' of the Devil Satan and Superstition The Cessation of Miracles The Devil De-skilled The Devil Disembodied Bodies, Platonic and Demonic Disenchanting the WorldEpilogueNotesBibliographyIndex