Satan: A Biography

Henry A. Kelly, professor of English at UCLA, has published many studies in both literature and history, and he is the author of several studies of the devil, including two previous books, The Devil, Demonology, and Witchcraft and The Devil at Baptism. Sadly, his new book combines close scholarship with deconstructionist principles. Though it contains thorough studies of the Old and New Testaments, pseudepigrapha and the church fathers, Satan has a fundamental flaw: it dismisses the prob- lem of evil. Kelly vehemently denies that there is any such thing as evil (tell that to people in Darfur rather than to an academic audience), though he grants that some things may be “bad” or “nasty.” Since he evades the problem of evil, he cannot take his subject seriously, which accounts for the book’s numerous ironic flippancies.


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