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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Satan: A Biography
Kelly, Henry Ansgar

New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006 pp. xiii + 360. $19.99


Description: Christians traditionally think of Satan as Lucifer, God's enemy, who rebelled against Him out of pride and then caused Adam and Eve to sin. But, as Kelly shows, this portrayal is not biblical but a scenario invented by the early Fathers of the Church which became the 'New Biography of Satan'. The 'Original Biography' must be reconstructed from the New Testament where Satan is the same sort of celestial functionary we see in the Book of Job - appointed to govern the world, specifically to monitor and test human beings. But he is brutal and deceitful in his methods, and Jesus predicts that his rule will soon come to an end. Kelly traces the further developments of the 'New Biography': humankind's inherited guilt, captivity by Satan, and punishment in Hell at his hands. This profile of Satan remains dominant, but Kelly urges a return to the 'Original Biography of Satan'.

Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Literature, Methods, Historical Approaches, History, History of Interpretation

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Review by Jim West
Published 6/30/2007
Citation: Jim West, review of Henry Kelly, Satan: A Biography, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2007).


Review by James A. Metzger
Published 4/18/2009
Citation: James A. Metzger, review of Henry Ansgar Kelly, Satan: A Biography, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2009).


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