Description: Satan is not a theological concept, but a literary construct. Facing the Fiend places the character within a well-defined literary tradition. Satan is established to be a highly ambiguous figure, who plays a central narrative role in a wide variety of texts. Acknowledging that the character of the devil is inherently problematic, Eva Marta Baillie deftly argues that the Satan of the Christian faith can be best understood 'phenomenologically' Ė through his roles and functions in stories. The author goes on to construct a detailed and wide-ranging picture of Satan's depictions in literature, presented with persuasive flair and a strong command of the subject matter, while touching upon wider issues of evil, and how it too is best understood in a literary context. Facing the Fiend offers an intriguing insight into the cultural representations of Satan, making for a thought-provoking and engaging read. Such a comprehensive study will appeal to those with an academic interest in the relationship between theology and literature, as well as to the general reader curious about the portrayal of religion in works of fiction.
Subjects: Bible, Literature, Methods, Historical Approaches, History, Literary Approaches, History of Interpretation
Review by Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte
Citation: Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte, review of Eva Marta Baillie, Facing the Fiend: Satan as a Literary Character, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2019).
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