By Nienke Vos

This choice of essays techniques the position of demons and the satan in old and medieval Christianity from quite a few scholarly views: old, philosophical, and theological in addition to philological, liturgical, and theoretical. within the commencing article Gerd Theissen offers a wide-ranging evaluation of the position of the satan, spanning the Hebrew Bible, the hot testomony, and patristic literature.

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Additional resources for Demons and the Devil in Ancient and Medieval Christianity (Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae - Texts and Studies of Early Christian Life and Language)

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Discussing the passage from Acts 19, he concludes—like Amirav— that Acts 19 presents an example of Jewish exorcists, and—also like Amirav—mentions various patristic exegetes who commented on this text: Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, and Origen. ’ Next, he defines exorcism in terms of ‘battle’, referring to both the gospels and the Book of Acts. In this sense, he joins both Van Oyen and Amirav in their choice of textual material. Bastiaensen also mentions other ideas that we have come across before: Van Oyen’s definition of exorcism as expulsion and Amirav’s emphasis on the correct use of formulas, expressed by the verb adiuro.

The core of such enlightened knowledge for Justin is monotheistic: ‘the one and only true God . . ’ When we assess Korteweg’s argument, we see strong links with the articles considered so far. The article by Algra contributes to an appreciation of the Stoic influences in Justin, while the contribution by Theißen points to the importance of ‘salvation history’ and a monotheistic conception of the deity when approaching the devil and his demons from a biblical viewpoint. Van Oyen fleshes out the importance of exorcism, with Amirav and Bastiaensen following this demons and the devil in ancient and medieval christianity 25 lead; the latter two mention Justin explicitly.

According to Van Oyen, the demons confirm, paradoxically, the identity of Jesus. Simultaneously, however, their confession is unreliable and limited, because they refuse to acknowledge that Jesus’ journey is not marked by triumph, but by humility and suffering. Finally, as a mirror image of the demons representing their Master, Satan, the figure of Jesus always actively implies the presence of God: ‘God is the main actor in the story’. But the metaphysical battle between God and Satan, visualized as a ‘supernatural combat myth’, is never too far removed from the lives of ordinary readers.

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