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The Devil, Satan, Lucifer, Mephistopheles - throughout history the Prince of Darkness, the Western world's most powerful symbol of evil, has taken many names and shapes. Jeffrey Burton Russell here chronicles the remarkable story of the Devil from antiquity to the present. While recounting how past generations have personified evil, he deepens our understanding of the ways in which people have dealt with the enduring problem of radical evil.After a compelling essay on the nature of evil, Russell uncovers the origins of the concept of the Devil in various early cultures and then traces its evolution in Western thought from the time of the ancient Hebrews through the first centuries of the Christian era. Next he turns to the medieval view of the Devil, focusing on images found in folklore, scholastic thought, art, literature, mysticism, and witchcraft. Finally, he follows the Devil into our own era, where he draws on examples from theology, philosophy, art, literature, and popular culture to describe the great changes in this traditional notion of evil brought about by the intellectual and cultural developments of modern times.Is the Devil an outmoded superstition, as most educated people today believe? Or do the horrors of the twentieth century and the specter of nuclear war make all too clear the continuing need for some vital symbol of radical evil? A single-volume distillation of Russell's epic tetralogy on the nature and personifcation of evil from ancient times to the present (published by Cornell University Press between 1977 and 1986), The Prince of Darkness invites readers to confront these and other critical questions as they explore the past faces of that figure who has been called the second most famous personage in Christianity.
The Christian concept of heaven flourished for almost two millennia, but it has lost much of its power in the last hundred years. Indeed today even theologians tend to avoid the topic. But heaven has always been a central tenet of the Christian faith, writes Jeffrey Burton Russell. If there is no heaven, no resurrection of the dead, the entire Christian story makes no sense. In this stimulating book, Russell sets out to rehabilitate heaven by forcefully attacking a series of ideas that have made belief in heaven, not to mention belief in God, increasingly difficult for modern people. Russell provides elegant and persuasive refutations of arguments ranging from the idea that science has disproved the existence of the supernatural, to the notion that biblical criticism has emptied the scripture of meaning. Along the way, as Russell looks at the ideas of Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer, Mark Twain and Alfred Lord Tennyson, Marx and Freud, and a host of others, he sheds light not only on the history of Christian thought, but on the process of secularization in the West. One by one, Russell refutes these anti-religious ideologies, pinpointing the deficiencies of their reasoning. Throughout the book, Russell invites the reader, whatever his or her beliefs, to take the concept of heaven seriously both as a worldview in itself and as one with enormous influence on the world. It is a book that will be welcomed by thinking Christians, who often feel beleaguered by the forces of modernity and sometimes find it hard to defend their own beliefs.
The study of the conflict between religious orthodoxy and heresy in the Middle Ages has long been a controversial field. Though the sectarian differences of the past have faded in intensity, the varieties of academic correctness that today inform historical studies are equally likely to give rise to a number of interpretations, sometimes providing more information about the sympathies of contemporary historians than the beliefs, feelings, and actions of Medieval people.

In this book, Jeffrey Burton Russell provides a fresh overview of the subject from the Council of Chalcedon (451 A.D.) to the eve of the Protestant Reformation. The fruit of many years of thought and scholarship, 'Dissent and Order in the Middle Ages' is a concise introduction to the full range of religious and social phenomena encompassed by the book's title. While tracing the intellectual battles that raged between the champions of orthodoxy and the partisans of dissent, Russell grounds these conflicts, which often seem rather recondite to the modern reader, in the evolving social context of Medieval Europe. In addition to discussing conflicts within Christianity, Russell sheds new light on such vexing topics as the origin of anti-Semitism and the persecution of alleged witches.

More than just an overview, Russell's study is also an original interpretation of a complex subject. Russell sees the conflict between dissent and order not as a war of binary opposites, but rather as an ongoing dialectic, a "creative tension" that, despite the excesses it entailed on both sides, was essential to the development of Christianity. Without this creative tension, Russell argues, Christianity might well have stagnated and possibly died. Dissent and order, then, are perhaps best seen as symbiotically joined aspects of a single living, healthy organism.

'Dissent and Order in the Middle Ages' will appeal to, and challenge, all readers interested in European history, from beginning students to seasoned scholars, as well as those concerned with Christianity's past - and future.
The Christian concept of heaven flourished for almost two millennia, but it has lost much of its power in the last hundred years. Indeed today even theologians tend to avoid the topic. But heaven has always been a central tenet of the Christian faith, writes Jeffrey Burton Russell. If there is no heaven, no resurrection of the dead, the entire Christian story makes no sense. In this stimulating book, Russell sets out to rehabilitate heaven by forcefully attacking a series of ideas that have made belief in heaven, not to mention belief in God, increasingly difficult for modern people. Russell provides elegant and persuasive refutations of arguments ranging from the idea that science has disproved the existence of the supernatural, to the notion that biblical criticism has emptied the scripture of meaning. Along the way, as Russell looks at the ideas of Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer, Mark Twain and Alfred Lord Tennyson, Marx and Freud, and a host of others, he sheds light not only on the history of Christian thought, but on the process of secularization in the West. One by one, Russell refutes these anti-religious ideologies, pinpointing the deficiencies of their reasoning. Throughout the book, Russell invites the reader, whatever his or her beliefs, to take the concept of heaven seriously both as a worldview in itself and as one with enormous influence on the world. It is a book that will be welcomed by thinking Christians, who often feel beleaguered by the forces of modernity and sometimes find it hard to defend their own beliefs.
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