The Origin of Satan: How Christians Demonized Jews, Pagans, and Heretics

By Elaine Pagels

From the spiritual historian whose The Gnostic Gospels received either the nationwide ebook Award and the nationwide ebook Critics Circle Award comes a dramatic interpretation of devil and his function at the Christian culture. With magisterial studying and the elan of a born storyteller, Pagels turns Satan's tale into an audacious exploration of Christianity's shadow facet, within which the gospel of affection supplies technique to irrational hatreds that proceed to hang-out Christians and non-Christians alike.

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8). via practices of purity, prayer, and worship, the begin strives to unite himself with the corporate of the angels. because the historian Carol Newsome has proven, Essene neighborhood worship—like the Christian liturgy to this day—reaches its climax because the group on the earth joins with angels in making a song the hymn of compliment that the angels sing in heaven (“Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts; heaven and earth 38 are jam-packed with thy glory”). Sacred Essene texts just like the Scroll of the warfare of the Sons of sunshine opposed to the Sons of Darkness show 60 / THE beginning OF devil secrets and techniques of angelology, which the sectarians considered as worthy and valuable info, for spotting and realizing the interrelationship of supernatural forces, either solid and evil, is vital for his or her experience in their personal identity—and the way in which 39 they establish others. The Essenes, then, provide the nearest parallel to Mark’s account of Jesus’ fans, as they invoke photos of cosmic struggle to divide the universe at large—and the Jewish group particularly— among God’s humans and Satan’s. but the 2 routine range considerably, specially relating to outsiders. The Essene covenant, as we've seen, used to be super specific, limited not just to Jews, who has to be freeborn and male, yet to these religious few who willingly joined the “new covenant. ” even though Mark and Matthew observed the start of Jesus’ circulation essentially in the context of the Jewish neighborhood, its destiny might more and more contain the Gentile international outdoor. still, the Essenes, even though carefully unique, have been led via their objections to the assimilationist developments in their fellow Jews to maneuver, satirically, within the universalist course indicated through the e-book of the Watchers and Jubilees. (The Essenes valuable either one of those writings of their monastic library; Jubilees, wrote an nameless Essene, is a ebook that finds divine secrets and techniques “to which Israel has grew to become a blind eye” [CD sixteen. 2]. ) The Essenes outdid their predecessors in atmosphere ethnic identification apart, now not as incorrect, yet as insufficient, and emphasised ethical over ethnic id. after they depict the fight of the Prince of sunshine opposed to the Prince of Darkness, they don't establish the Prince of sunshine with the archangel Michael, the forty angelic purchaser of Israel. in its place, they envision the Prince of sunshine as a common strength contending opposed to an opposing cosmic strength, the Prince of Darkness. For the Essenes those energies signify not just their very own conflicts with their competitors yet a clash inside every body, in the human middle itself: The spirits of fact and falsehood fight in the human middle. . . . in accordance with his proportion truthfully and correct, hence a guy THE SOCIAL background OF devil / sixty one hates lies; and in accordance with his percentage within the lot of deceit, hence he hates fact (1 QS 4:12-14). The Essenes, after all, took their very own id with Israel without any consideration. due to the fact that they required each begin to their covenant to be Jewish, male, and freeborn, “every individual” intended in perform simply Jews who met those skills.

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