Mephistopheles: The Devil in the Modern World

Jeffrey Burton Russell

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Mephistopheles: The Devil in the Modern World

Mephistopheles The Devil in the Modern World Mephistopheles is the fourth and final volume of a critically acclaimed history of the concept of the Devil The series constitutes the most complete historical study ever made of the figure that has b

  • Title: Mephistopheles: The Devil in the Modern World
  • Author: Jeffrey Burton Russell
  • ISBN: 9780801497186
  • Page: 448
  • Format: Paperback
  • Mephistopheles is the fourth and final volume of a critically acclaimed history of the concept of the Devil The series constitutes the most complete historical study ever made of the figure that has been called the second most famous personage in Christianity.In his first three volumes Jeffrey Burton Russell brought the history of Christian diabology to the end of the MidMephistopheles is the fourth and final volume of a critically acclaimed history of the concept of the Devil The series constitutes the most complete historical study ever made of the figure that has been called the second most famous personage in Christianity.In his first three volumes Jeffrey Burton Russell brought the history of Christian diabology to the end of the Middle Ages, showing the development of a degree of consensus, even in detail, on the concept of the Devil Mephistopheles continues the story from the Reformation to the present, tracing the fragmentation of the tradition Using examples from theology, philosophy, art, literature, and popular culture, he describes the great changes effected in our idea of the Devil by the intellectual and cultural developments of modem times.Emphasizing key figures and movements, Russell covers the apogee of the witch craze in the Renaissance and Reformation, the effects of the Enlightenment s rationalist philosophy, the Romantic image of Satan, and the cynical or satirical literary treatments of the Devil in the late nineteenth century He concludes that although today the Devil may seem an outworn metaphor, the very real horrors of the twentieth century suggest the continuing need for some vital symbol of radical evil.A work of great insight and learning, Mephistopheles deepens our understanding of the ways in which people in Western societies have dealt with the problem of evil.

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    One thought on “Mephistopheles: The Devil in the Modern World

    1. Eric_W on said:

      Jeffrey Burton Russell has, one might say, specialized in the devil. In a series of volumes he has traced the evolution of Satan and evil as perceived in religion, literature and philosophy since the beginning of recorded time. Mephistopheles: The Devil in the Modern World traces modern man's view of the devil beginning with the 16th century to the present.We are surrounded by different "truth systems." What may be true for science may have different validity in another truth system, e.g. art or [...]

    2. John David on said:

      To be frank, I haven’t read any of the previous three of Jeffery Burton Russell’s books which together comprise a “history of the Devil” from antiquity through the twentieth century. I started at the end, because the only other volume I own, the third in the series, is packed away in a box somewhere and it didn’t have the chance to catch my eye. The reason why series like these attract me so much is beyond me – maybe I’m just drawn to big, unwieldy reading projects. However, judgin [...]

    3. Joseph F. on said:

      The fourth and final book on the conceptual history of the Devil by Russell. Here we start with the reformation, and move through enlightenment philosophy. This is the only volume that deals with a psychological analysis of the Devil. Not a big surprise since there really was little science of the mind in the middle ages. He mainly covers Freud and Jung. It is then that the book really takes off into the realms of literature. There is so much fiction in this volume that it reads a bit like a Who [...]

    4. Äsruþr Cyneaþsson on said:

      Russell concludes his study into the conceptual history of the Devil in fine form. The exegesis of Milton's 'Paradise Lost' and Goethe's 'Faust' are invaluable. Russell has never concealed his bias throughout the series, yet it does here cause him to falter in his analysis of contemporary Satanism. His dismissal of the Temple of Set is ineffective due to Russell's bias leading him to rely upon subjective opinion, as opposed to the depth of research and analysis he devotes elsewhere. The initial [...]

    5. Roderick Brunt on said:

      A fast read!Though embellished with some really fine old engravings, I’m unable to commend the author on a serious effort in regard to its primary subject. Mephistopheles: The Devil in the Modern World; the title does suggest the contents to be fiction oriented and alas, to this end it fulfills its goal. The book is well written, the research conducted was comprehensive and thorough – a bit too abstract in places; and yet with all due respect, how could it not be? In the end and my opinion [...]

    6. Jules on said:

      The devil is one of the most intriguing characters in literature. Even readers of Paradise Lost will attest to being pulled into the magnetism and charisma of this representation of radical evil. To the romantics, the devil was a rebellious hero. The devil in this is not so much just a part of Christian diabology, Russell shows the reader that he is a subject of art, a poet and an inspiration to the gothic writers.

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