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A History of the Devil

by Gerald Messadié

ISBN 1568360819 / 9781568360812 / 1-56836-081-9
Publisher Kodansha
Language English
Edition Hardcover
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Book summary

"The biggest ruse of the devil is making us believe that he doesn't exist", claimed Baudelaire. On the contrary, argues bestselling French historian and critic Gerald Messadie, it is devilish that we believe in him at all.

A History of the Devil is a vivacious and provocative exploration of the personification of evil through the ages and across cultures. Messadie reveals that our Satan -- the antithesis of God and good -- was a concept unknown to the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Hindus, and Chinese. In fact, the devil was probably invented six centuries before the Common Era by Persian clergy eager to aid their political allies. Ever since, the image of evil has been a useful tool of the powerful, from the proponents of the Spanish Inquisition to the Cold Warriors of our own time. Meticulously researched and eloquently argued, this unorthodox history of religion from its seamy underside explores a fascinating and diverse strand of cultures everywhere. [via]