Monday, February 14, 2011

An interesting religious studies course website

Shortly ago, I happened to come across the web page for a course called Rel 361: A Social History of Satan, taught by Dr. Adam L. Porter at Illinois College in Jacksonville, IL.

The web page lists lots of interesting and worthwhile stuff. However, it leaves out what I consider to be an important bit of history: The various famous writers, in the 1800's, who spoke favorably of "Satan" or "the Devil." These included:
  • William Blake - wrote "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell."
  • Mark Twain - wrote Letters from the Earth and A Pen Warmed in Hell
  • Giosue Carducci (who is considered to have been one of Italy's greatest poets) - wrote a "Hymn to Satan"
  • Charles Baudelaire - wrote "The Litanies of Satan"
  • Matilda Gage (leading 19th century feminist) - referred to Satan as the "God of Freedom" in her book Woman, Church, and State, echoing the French historian Jules Michelet's favorable portrayal of a hypothetical Satanic ceremony by medieval peasants.
  • George Bernard Shaw - wrote The Devil's Disciple and Man and Superman
On the plus side, it appears that the course will devote some attention to the Satanic panic of the 1980's and early 1990's.

These days, ever-growing numbers of "conspiracy theorists" are working hard to revive the panic. So, it's good to see college students being taught about the historical reality. Thank you, Dr. Porter, for including it in your course.

1 comment:

Fernando said...

I looked into this site and found interesting uncommon material I could download in order to review calmly, thank you.