Children of Lucifer: The Origins of Modern Religious by Ruben van Luijk

By Ruben van Luijk

If we're to think sensationalist media insurance, Satanism is, at its such a lot benign, the purview of people that costume in black, enhance themselves with cranium and pentagram paraphernalia, and hear heavy steel. At its such a lot sinister, its adherents are worshippers of evil incarnate and interact in violent and perverse mystery rituals, the main points of which mainstream society imagines with a fascination verging at the obscene. Children of Lucifer debunks those facile characterizations by way of exploring the old origins of contemporary Satanism. Ruben van Luijk strains the movement's improvement from an idea invented by means of a Christian church wanting to demonize its inner and exterior rivals to a good (anti-)religious id embraced through numerous teams within the smooth West.

Van Luijk deals a complete highbrow historical past of this lengthy and unpredictable trajectory. This tale comprises Romantic poets, radical anarchists, eccentric esotericists, Decadent writers, and schismatic exorcists, between others, and culminates within the institution of the Church of devil by way of carnival entertainer Anton Szandor LaVey. but it's greater than a set of colourful characters and not likely old episodes. The emergence of latest attitudes towards devil proves to be in detail associated with the ideological fight for emancipation that reworked the West and is epitomized by means of the yank and French Revolutions. it's also heavily attached to secularization, that different unparalleled historic technique which observed Western tradition spontaneously resign its conventional gods and input right into a self-imposed kingdom of non secular indecision.

Children of Lucifer makes the case that the emergence of Satanism offers a shadow historical past of the evolution of contemporary civilization as we all know it. providing the main entire account of this heritage but written, van Luijk proves that, in relation to Satanism, the evidence are even more fascinating than the fiction.

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For c­ hapter 4, moreover, I dug deeply into primary sources (mostly letters and personal documents by Huysmans and Boullan or their consorts). Yet the added value of this book, I hasten to add, does not lie in the unearthing of new historical information from archival sources. Rather, it is to be found in its fresh take on a tangled historical subject that has received scarce academic attention and that has seldom been presented with ample breadth and precision in the past. The breadth of this book’s subject has also enforced other limitations on the scope of my investigation.

28 The sketchy outlines in the New Testament were worked into a coherent topography of evil in the Christian theology of the second and third centuries. 29 They also extended their venture into the domains of darkness, listing and classifying the hosts of evil spirits within the pages of their treatises. In their writings, Satan is firmly established as the prince of the enemy realm. His activities are also read backward into the Jewish scriptures of the Tenach, identifying him, for instance, with the Serpent who seduced Adam and Eve into original sin in the book of Genesis—​an identification that had already been suggested in the New Testament Book of Revelation, where Satan is called “the Serpent of old” (Rev.

There, after full feasting, when the blood is heated and drink has inflamed the passions of incestuous lust, a dog which had been tied to a lamp is tempted by a morsel thrown beyond the range of his tether to bound forward with a rush. 53 Needless to say, this libel against early Christians had no foundation in fact. 54 For pagan Romans, the Christians must have represented an extreme embodiment of such an outsider group. Secretly convening in sinister places like catacombs, the new religious movement completely reversed traditional values of citizenship and piety, worshipping an executed rebel as a god instead of the divine emperor, and adding insult to absurdity by claiming that the Empire’s traditional gods were in reality evil demons.

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