Saturday, January 3, 2015

Finding Information About Satan

What resource(s) would you recommend regarding the origin of Satan in Judaism, how it changed with Christianity, and any relationships these might have with other religions found (e.g., Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and others)?

AP: The best thing to do is start with something simple, not to complicate your life with some of those specialized monographs. Check out a good Bible dictionary and theological dictionary. Look up "Satan." Do that and you will find all the necessary information. And where can you find these dictionaries? Well, you can usually find them in theological or seminary libraries, or even at a church or parish, etc.

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TWH: Now here's a question we can agree on. Those Bible dictionaries are great resources for giving you a great overview of major biblical and theological figures and concepts. Let me recommend a few basic dictionaries that provide just an elementary discussion:
Brand, Chad, et. al. (eds.). Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Nashville, TN: Holman, 2003. 
Douglas, J. D., et. al. Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Rev. ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011.  
Longman III, Tremper (ed.). The Baker Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2013. 
Ryken, Leland, et. al. (eds.). Dictionary of Biblical Imagery. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1998.  
There is just a tiny discussion in the Encyclopedia of Judaism (New York: Facts on File, 2006; 449) by Sara E. Karesh and Mitchell M. Hurvitz. There are quite a few resources like this.

Beyond that, you will definitely want to get your hands on the contributions found in the Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament and the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. These will give you a much more comprehensive introduction.

Anthony J. Tomasino has a discussion on the Persian impact on Judaism in his book Judaism Before Jesus: The Events & Ideas That Shaped the New Testament World (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2003) beginning on page 76. There are numerous resources out there. So, let me recommend a resource that I think will help you as you dig into your studies. It's one of mine called "Enhancing Your Research with Google Books." You can view and download it here (free, of course!). You can search in English, Spanish, Greek, Hebrew, and every other written language. When you are using the biblical languages, be sure you try searches in Unicode font as well as transliterations of whatever you are searching for.

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