A New Biography
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Number of Pages: 354
Width: 14.5 cm
Height: 22.2 cm
The malign figure of the Antichrist endures in modern culture, whether religious or secular; and the spectral shadow he has cast over the ages continues to exert a strong and powerful fascination. Philip C. Almond tells the story of the son of Satan from his early beginnings to the present day, and explores this false Messiah in theology, literature and the history of ideas. Discussing the origins of the malevolent being who at different times was cursed as Belial, Nero or Damien, the author reveals how Christianity in both East and West has imagined this incarnation of absolute evil destined to appear at the end of time. For the better part of the last two thousand years, Almond suggests, the human battle between right and wrong has been envisaged as a mighty cosmic duel between good and its opposite, culminating in an epic final showdown between Christ and his deadly arch-nemesis.
'An ambitious untangling of a host of different traditions and stories - all super-heated by religious controversy - The Antichrist succeeds triumphantly in reducing them to calm intelligibility. This is a major feat, not only of scholarship, but also of reflection, planning and writing.' Marion Gibson, University of Exeter, and author of Rediscovering Renaissance Witchcraft and of Witchcraft: The Basics 'Philip Almond's remarkable new book - a companion piece to his earlier work on the Devil - is clearly and vividly written. Giving full attention to previous ideas about the Antichrist, the author looks at the subject differently and originally in a way that meshes the topical and the chronological. The book is an advance both in theological and popular understanding, and I recommend it warmly.' Jeffrey Burton Russell, University of California, Santa Barbara, and author of Lucifer: The Devil in the Middle Ages and of A History of Heaven: The Singing Silence 'This entertaining romp through the subject leads Mr Almond down many obscure paths, peopled by cobwebbed theologians such as Irenaeus and Hippolytus, and deep into the weirdest thickets of medieval fantasy-weaving. He has fun - 'Sexy Beast' is his heading on a section about the Antichrist visions, peculiarly like ink blots, of Hildegard of Bingen - but does not forget that a modern reader also needs to know why the Antichrist was important.' Ann Wroe, The Economist 'What makes this biography really thought-provoking is Almond's easy demonstration of how ideas actually percolate and embed over time, and how, paradoxically, the greater the distance we travel from actual facts, the greater our sense of confidence in - and identification with - spurious thought systems becomes.' Nicola Barker, The Spectator 'This engaging, often entertaining, and lavishly illustrated book may well be the last word on the subject ...' John Saxbee, Church Times 'This is a great work of scholarship, impressive in its breadth at the same time that it is clear and succinct in its presentation.' Rodrigo Galiza, Andrews University Seminary Studies 'This engaging, often entertaining, and lavishly illustrated book may well be the last word on the subject.' The Rt Revd Dr John Saxbee, Church Times '... Almond's intellectual biography makes comprehensible for the modern reader the complex and obscure world of prophetic scripture interpretation, and that is a massive accomplishment.' Gary K. Waiteu, Journal of Ecclesiastical History