Devil

Statue of the devil in the Žmuidzinavičius Museum or Devil's Museum in Kaunas, Lithuania
Satan (the dragon; on the left) gives to the beast of the sea (on the right) power represented by a sceptre in a detail of panel III.40 of the medieval French Apocalypse Tapestry, produced between 1377 and 1382.
A fresco detail from the Rila Monastery, in which demons are depicted as having grotesque faces and bodies

A devil is the personification of evil as it is conceived in various cultures and religious traditions.[1] It is seen as the objectification of a hostile and destructive force.[2] Jeffrey Burton Russell states that the different conceptions of the devil can be summed up as 1) a principle of evil independent from God, 2) an aspect of God, 3) a created being turning evil (a fallen angel), and 4) a symbol of human evil.[3]: 23 

Each tradition, culture, and religion with a devil in its mythos offers a different lens on manifestations of evil.[4] The history of these perspectives intertwines with theology, mythology, psychiatry, art, and literature developing independently within each of the traditions.[5] It occurs historically in many contexts and cultures, and is given many different names—Satan, Lucifer, Beelzebub, Mephistopheles, Iblis—and attributes: it is portrayed as blue, black, or red; it is portrayed as having horns on its head, and without horns, and so on.[6][7] While depictions of the devil are usually taken seriously, there are times when it is treated less seriously; when, for example, devil figures are used in advertising and on candy wrappers.[4][8]

  1. ^ Jeffrey Burton Russell, The Devil: Perceptions of Evil from Antiquity to Primitive Christianity, Cornell University Press 1987 ISBN 978-0-801-49409-3, pp. 11 and 34
  2. ^ Jeffrey Burton Russell, The Devil: Perceptions of Evil from Antiquity to Primitive Christianity, Cornell University Press 1987 ISBN 978-0-801-49409-3, p. 34
  3. ^ Russell, Jeffrey Burton (1990). Mephistopheles: The Devil in the Modern World. Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0-8014-9718-6.
  4. ^ a b Jeffrey Burton Russell, The Devil: Perceptions of Evil from Antiquity to Primitive Christianity, Cornell University Press 1987 ISBN 978-0-801-49409-3, pp. 41–75
  5. ^ Jeffrey Burton Russell, The Devil: Perceptions of Evil from Antiquity to Primitive Christianity, Cornell University Press 1987 ISBN 978-0-801-49409-3, pp. 44 and 51
  6. ^ Arp, Robert. The Devil and Philosophy: The Nature of His Game. Open Court, 2014. ISBN 978-0-8126-9880-0. pp. 30–50
  7. ^ Jeffrey Burton Russell, The Devil: Perceptions of Evil from Antiquity to Primitive Christianity, Cornell University Press. 1987 ISBN 978-0-801-49409-3. p. 66.
  8. ^ Russell, Jeffrey Burton, The Prince of Darkness: Radical Evil and the Power of Good in History, Cornell University Press (1992) ISBN 978-0-8014-8056-0, p. 2

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