The Devil: A Very Short Introduction

The Devil: A Very Short Introduction

Paperback Very Short Introductions

By (author) Darren Oldridge

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 144 pages
  • Dimensions: 110mm x 172mm x 12mm | 118g
  • Publication date: 18 June 2012
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0199580995
  • ISBN 13: 9780199580996
  • Edition statement: New ed.
  • Illustrations note: Approx 12 black and white illustrations
  • Sales rank: 157,128

Product description

Why do the innocent suffer in a world created by a loving God? Does this mean that God cannot prevent this suffering, despite His supposed omnipotence? Or is God not loving after all? This in brief is 'the problem of evil'. The Devil provides one solution to this problem: his rebellion against God and hatred of His works is responsible for evil. The Christian Devil has fascinated writers and theologians since the time of the New Testament, and inspired many dramatic and haunting works of art. Today he remains a potent image in popular culture. The Devil: A Very Short Introduction presents an introduction to the Devil in the history of ideas and the lives of real people. Darren Oldridge shows us that he is a more important figure in western history than is often appreciated, and also a richly complex and contradictory one. Oldridge focuses on three main themes: the idea of the Devil being integral to western thought from the early Middle Ages to the beginnings of modernity; the principle of 'demonic inversion' (the idea that as the eternal leader of the opposition, the Devil represents the mirror image of goodness); and the multiplicity and instability of ideas about the Devil. While belief in the Devil has declined, the idea of an abstract force of evil is still remarkably strong. Oldridge concludes by exploring 'demonological' ways of thinking in our own time, including allegations of 'satanic ritual abuse' and the on-going 'war on terror'. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

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Author information

Darren Oldridge is a Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Worcester. For ten years his research and teaching has focused on the Devil, witchcraft and the concept of evil. He is the author the expanded second edition of The Witchcraft Reader (Routledge 2008), and Strange Histories (Routledge 2005).

Review quote

This book may appeal to those wanting a short but insightful survey of those understandings of evil that the devil represents. Reform Magazine Devil believer or devil-denier, you'll find plenty to get your teeth into here. Northern Echo In this densely researched and drily elegant book, Satan is pursued through Augustine, Marlowe, Milton, Shelley, Blake, Goethe, Ambrose Bierce, Auden and CS Lewis's Screwtape, tales of self-mortification and witch-hunting, painting and the cinema. Steven Poole, The Guardian

Table of contents

Introduction ; 1. A short history of the Devil ; 2. The Devil and humankind ; 3. Depicting the Devil ; 4. Satan in a secular age ; Conclusion