12th January 2006
Phil Harland over at Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean blog has started a series of posts on the History of Satan, inspired by an undergraduate course of the same name he is teaching this term. In his first post (Satan 1), Phil describes the upcoming series as follows:
Welcome to ongoing discussions regarding the origins, development, and significance of personified evil — Satan and his demons — in early Judaism and in the history of Christianity. We will be tracing the history of Satan (a.k.a. the Devil, Beelzebul, Beliar, Mastema, Lucifer, Mephisto) and his minions from ancient Mesopotamian chaos-monsters to early Jewish and Christian fallen angels to modern portrayals in music, television, and film.
His second post (Satan 2) looks some at important predecessors of Satan from the Ancient Near East which help us to understand the rise of the figure of Satan, such as the different chaos monsters like Lotan/Leviathan. His third post (Satan 3) covers some terms often associated with Satan in the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, including the term satan “the adversary” often translated (perhaps incorrectly) as “Satan.”
The series is off to a great start and looks to be a very interesting series of posts. I have some ideas about the development of Satan in the Hebrew Bible (especially 1Chronicles 21) as well as the influence of the Septuagint translation to the notion of Satan that I may blog on in the near future if time permits. Of course, it would be interesting to look at Satan in popular culture, as well.
Make sure to take a look at Phil’s blog. You can always say the “Devil made me do it!”