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. . . ground-breaking . . . Many times in the course of reading her explications I found myself saying, “Of course, why hasn’t someone said this before?” By showing how the sectarian demonization of the “intimate enemies”–Jews and heretics–shaped early Christianity, the book helps us to understand the power of irrational forces that still need to be confronted in contemporary society. — S. David Sperling, professor of Bible, Hebrew Union College
From the religious historian whose The Gnostic Gospels won both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award comes a dramatic interpretation of Satan and his role on the Christian tradition. With magisterial learning and the elan of a born storyteller, Pagels turns Satan’s story into an audacious exploration of Christianity’s shadow side, in which the gospel of love gives way to irrational hatreds that continue to haunt Christians and non-Christians alike.
Summary: Shaitan vs. Satan
I enjoyed this book as well as The Gnostic Gospels. In another fictionalized account of Jesus having survived the crucifixion and settled down in the East, The Rozabal Line, there is reference to an Indo-Arabic word for “trouble maker”. That word is “Shaitan”. Many of those people who stood as obstacles in the path of Christianity were viewed as “trouble makers” and hence the derivative of “Shaitan” i.e. Satan was applied, eventually to them and the devil. I enjoyed reading this book because it explained how the very concept and notion of Satan was born and made me understand that the concept of “satan” and “hell” needs to be viewed not as religious/spiritual truth but as a political truth of the early years of Christianity.