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Lucifer: The Devil in the Middle Ages (Cornell Paperbacks)

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Book Overview

Evil is an intrinsically fascinating topic. In Lucifer, Jeffrey Burton Russell continues his compelling study of the personification of evil in the figure of the Devil. The previous two volumes in... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

3 ratings

Great treatise on the theological personification of evil in the Middle Ages

Lucifer is the third volume in the four volumes series, and above all other volumes this one is the most meticulous and authoritative, one can clearly see that this area is the author's area of expertise. Russell delves into the minds of the most influential thinkers of the time, explaining it as effortlessly as one would expect from an authority. The only complaint that I have is the same one that I have had for all the volumes, Russell fails to link was the leading theologians believed to what the populace believe, this I believe is a serious fault, because there is quite often a vast chasm between the two. Though Russell may not have intended to address this in his works, it seems to be a big part of the stated purview, after all, the population was part of the Middle Ages too. Russell ends this volume with the chapter on "The Existence of the Devil". Here Russell puts forward his personal opinion and makes an impassioned plea for modern theology not to throw away the idea of the devil, however one may perceive him. Russell makes a very poignant point when he states; "The subtraction of the devil has in fact led some modern theologians to evade or trivialise evil. It is curious that at a time when evil threatens to engulf us totally, when evil has already claimed more victims in this century than in all previous centuries combined, that one hears less and less on the subject from theology. Any religion that does not come to terms with evil is not worthy of attention." Having said this though, Russell goes on to state that the devil as an entity is not real, but that "the devil is a metaphor for the evil in the cosmos....We may now be in need of another name for this force." While these two views are not totally mutually exclusive, they are in some way contradictory. Russell's stated personal opinion is on a very steep slope, and is probably how so many scholars today came to disavow any type of evil entity, Russell's view is only a very small step away from what he is warning against; denying evil totally. So conservative Christians beware, this study of the devil is biased from the opinion that an independent entity such as the devil probably does not exist. Overall this is a great treatise on the theological personification of evil in the Middle Ages. Four stars.

The Lightbearer Extends His Kingdom

'Lucifer: The Devil in the Middle Ages' is the longest (356 pages) of Jeffrey Burton Russell four book treatise examining the concept of evil and the ever elusive Devil as he treks through his way through human history and consciousness. The time period of the Middle Ages is Russell's expertise and it shows in his research and his understanding of Medieval metaphysics. The best thus far! Don't give up yet, only one books to go!!

Russell: My Lucifer

This book was a pleasure to read. Like the two previous volumes, Lucifer was an enlightenment. The evoultion of the "lightbearer" becomes more exciting as Russell progresses to the modern age. This volume, focusing on the Middle Ages, solitifies some philisophical beliefs of evil, matter and its representation in literature(specifically Dantes Inferno). I strongly recommend picking up this book(and reading it).
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