The Social History of Satan Essay

The Social History of Satan Essay

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The essay written by Elaine Pagels, "The Social History of Satan," illustrates the transformation of Satan from his depiction in the Hebrew Bible to the Gospel's vision of him as a Prince of Darkness who brings about the struggle between good and evil. In her essay, Pagel illustrates the concept of an evil entity and its functions.

Satan, or the Devil, plays various evil roles in ancient and modern literature and in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religious traditions. Satan is seen as the opponent of God. "He" is often described as an angel named Lucifer who was cast out of heaven for rebelling against God. "He" was also condemned to roam the earth and rule hell. That legend is not found as such in the Bible but is based on interpretations of scattered Bible passages and later literary portrayals. Satan is also variously seen as a supernatural force that really exists as a scriptural figure that can be read symbolically represent evil in the world. In the essay Pagel describes the three different versions of Satan's creation.

In the Jewish religion, they identified their enemies who were unfaithful as satan. Satan is not seen as animal or monster but one of God's angels. Israelites saw their intimate enemies not as monsters but as superhuman beings whose qualities could make them more dangerous than alien enemy.

Satan first appears in the Hebrew Bible as not evil but a dissenter to God. On the contrary he also appears as one of God's servants in the book of Numbers and in Job. In the Hebrew Bible, the angels were also called "'sons of God'." Pagel states in her essay that Hebrew term the satan describes am adversarial role. In the early sixth century Hebrew story tellers introduced supernatural character, satan, as one...


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... introducing the life of Adam and Eve. It is believed that in the beginning God had created Adam and ordered his angels to bow to vast efforts he had presented. Adam's sibling, Michael, obeyed, and Satan, refused. This brought out the idea of sibling rivalry. Pagels illustrates in her essay all of the stories about Satan have similar characteristics. She proves that the most dangerous enemy did not originate as an outsider but rather someone close. She establishes that idea that Satan is not a distant enemy but the familiar enemy.

Elaine Pagels illustrates in her essay, "The Social History of Satan," that although there are many versions to the creation of Satan, they are all linked by one similarity that Satan is an intimate enemy. Throughout her essay, Pagels incorporated stories from different religions about the concept of an evil entity and its functions.

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