Cloth $27.50 ISBN: 9781789143737 Published April 2021 For sale in North and South America only

The Devil and His Advocates

Erik Butler

The Devil and His Advocates

Erik Butler

Distributed for Reaktion Books

248 pages | 29 halftones | 6 1/4 x 8 1/4
Cloth $27.50 ISBN: 9781789143737 Published April 2021 For sale in North and South America only
Satan is not God’s enemy in the Bible, and he’s not always bad—much less evil. Through the lens of the Old and New Testaments, Erik Butler explores the Devil in literature, theology, visual art, and music from antiquity up to the present, discussing canonical authors (Dante, Milton, and Goethe among them) and a wealth of lesser-known sources. Since his first appearance in the Book of Job, Satan has pursued a single objective: to test human beings, whose moral worth and piety leave plenty of room for doubt. Satan can be manipulative, but at worst he facilitates what mortals are inclined to do anyway. “The Devil made me do it” does not hold up in the court of cosmic law. With wit and surprising examples, this book explains why.
Review Quotes
Publishers Weekly
"Butler, a researcher at the Yale School of Drama, explores the character of the devil in literature, theology, visual art, and music from antiquity up to the present, discussing canonical authors such as Dante, Goethe, and Milton."
Nick Groom, Professor of Literature in English, University of Macau
"In this remarkable and thought-provoking book, Butler demonstrates that far from being the goat-horned, cloven-hoofed, and barbed-tail demon of popular culture, the Devil has in fact been constantly on the move in Christian thinking. . . . Like Virgil leading Dante, Butler steers the reader through the labyrinthine intricacies of early Christian philosophy, the writings of Luther and Milton, and the profane excesses of the French Decadence. . . . Brimful with erudite and recherché learning, and written with a compelling combination of scintillating intelligence and apocalyptic verve, The Devil and His Advocates presents a grand sweep of Western intellectual history that amounts to an alternative history of evil in the Christian world. In Butler, the Devil has found his most eloquent, sophisticated, and measured advocate to date."
Patrick Blanchfield, author of "Gunpower: The Structure of American Violence"
“In this devilishly clever and fiendishly erudite tour de force, Butler tracks the peregrinations of Satan and figurations of the Satanic across millennia and genres. . . . Butler masterfully weaves history, theology, folklore, music, philosophy, literary criticism, and more into a dazzling account of the Devil's many functions in Western thought and culture. The result is the perfect genealogical demonology for our present moment—an achievement that is at once accessible, provocative, and profound.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit https://press.uchicago.edu
Google preview here

Chicago Manual of Style

RSS Feed

RSS feed of the latest books from Reaktion Books. RSS Feed