Debunking the Devil [link]

I just saw an excellent article on the development of the idea of the Devil which I discovered after its reblogging by Nate (


I’ve written a much briefer post on the origins of the idea of ‘Hell’(which I thought I’d already posted, but I see it’s still in my notes file – I’ll post it shortly [now here]), that overlaps at a few points, since the two concepts entered Jewish thinking through a similar process involving the exile and return.

The article you need to read is


It’s a solid article.  It’s important to note that it isn’t offering especially controversial theories but only well-established ones – even if they’re not generally welcome by most evangelical Christians.

As Michael shows, most of the information can be found in evangelical and/or mainstream Dictionaries of the Bible.  It’s just that most people don’t read the readily available scholarship, and don’t bother joining the dots when they do.  Most of the evidence is there already in the Bible itself, for those who care to look, although it’s camouflaged by some modern translations and by the web of the history of Christian interpretation of some passages.


The article’s a great introduction to the area which is well referenced, without explaining every point it makes (eg. it assumes a fifth century BC date for the compilation of Genesis without showing why, but these ‘assumed points’ are all strongly supported and completely mainstream).


As a special bonus, just because I can, I’m also linking to Quiet Company’s brilliant song I Heard the Devil Say My Name Out Loud.

Not especially relevant, but who cares – the song’s awesome!


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