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]

It is difficult to specify a particular definition of any complexity that will cover all of the traditions, beyond that it is a manifestation of evil. It is meaningful to consider the devil through the lens of each of the cultures and religions that have the devil as part of their mythos.[3]

The history of this concept intertwines with theology, mythology, psychiatry, art and literature, maintaining a validity, and developing independently within each of the traditions.[4] It occurs historically in many contexts and cultures, and is given many different names—Satan, Lucifer, Beelzebub, Mephistopheles, Al-Shaytan—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.[5][6] The idea of the devil has been taken seriously often, but not always, for example when devil figures are used in advertising and on candy wrappers.[3][7]

  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. ^ 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
  4. ^ 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
  5. ^ Arp, Robert. The Devil and Philosophy: The Nature of His Game. Open Court, 2014. ISBN 9780812698800. pp. 30–50
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ Russell, Jeffrey Burton, The Prince of Darkness: Radical Evil and the Power of Good in History, Cornell University Press (1992) ISBN 978-0801480560, p. 2