Recommended Reading

The concept of Satan is anything but straight-forward: in Kabbalistic traditions, Satan is seen as an agent of God; in the Old Testament his functions include being God’s messenger or acting as a (sometimes salutary) obstruction. The identification of Satan as a purely evil opponent of God only came into focus around the time of Jesus’ life. Since then, the image of Satan has remained in flux. While he is the embodiment of evil and sin in traditional Christian lore, in some Western literary traditions, notably in Romanticism, Satan appears as a political liberator and a culture hero. The reception of Satan includes these as well as many other aspects across the ages.

These texts explore the Satanic concept in multiple ways:

Paradise Lost, John Milton
The Marriage of Heaven and HellWilliam Blake
La-Bas (Down There)Joris K. Huysmans
The Temptation of Christ: Matthew 4:1-11
The Book of Job
The Litany of Satan and Flowers of Evil, Baudelaire
The Mysterious Stranger, Mark Twain
Markheim, R.L. Stevenson
Revolt of the AngelsAnatole France
The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov
The Trial of God, Elie Wiesel
Blameless in Abaddon, James Morrow
The Screwtape LettersC.S. Lewis
Mephistopheles: The Devil in the Modern AgeJeffrey B. Russell
Satan: The Early Christian TraditionJeffrey Burton Russell
Lucifer: The Devil in the Middle AgesJeffrey Burton Russell
The Origins of Satan, Elaine Pagels
The Happy Satanist, Lilith Starr
“Character Profile;” from Harold Bloom’s Major Literary Characters: Satan
Modern Satanism: Anatomy of a Radical Subculture, Chris Matthews
The Birth of Satan: Tracing the Devil’s Biblical Roots, T.J. Wray and Mobley
The Devil’s Party: Satanism in Modernity, Per Faxneld
The Invention of Satanism, Dyrendal, Lewis, and Peterson
Satanic Panic: The Creation of a Contemporary Legend, Jeffrey S. Victor
Satanic Feminism: Lucifer as the Liberator of Women in Nineteenth-Century Culture, Per Faxneld

Philosophy and other texts

Why I am not a Christian, Bertrand Russell
“Parable of the Madman” in The Gay Science, Friedrich Nietzsche
Beyond Good and Evil, Friedrich Nietzsche
The Anti-Christ, Friedrich Nietzsche
God and the State, Mikhail Bakunin
Madness and Civilization, Michael Foucault
Naming the Witch: Magic, Ideology and Stereotype in the Ancient World, K. Stratton
The Enemy Within: A Short History of Witch Hunting, John Demos
American Fascists: The Christain Right and the War on America, Chris Hedges
One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America, Kevin M. Kruse
A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn
Masters of Mankind: Essays on the Struggle for Freedom and Democracy, Noam Chomsky
Stir it Up: Lessons in Community Organizing and Advocacy, Rinku Sen
Bridging the Class Divide and other lessons for Grassroots Organizing, Linda Stout
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, Carl Sagan
The World’s Religions: 50th Anniversary Edition, Huston Smith

Fiction and fun stuff

Good Omens, Sir Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Lucifer Vol 1, Holly Black