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Recommended book for 2015-January

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The Songs of Galileo: Book 1: Voice of God


Previous months' recommendations

Tentatively scheduled selections for future months

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2015-January's selection

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Philip C. Almond: "The devil: a new biography"

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.
$
22.19 plus postage in Paperback. Available in Kindle format for $14.20.

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Amazon.com book description:

"Although the Devil still 'lives' in modern popular culture, for the past 250 years he has become marginal to the dominant concerns of Western intellectual thought. That life could not be thought or imagined without him, that he was a part of the everyday, continually present in nature and history, and active at the depths of our selves, has been all but forgotten. It is the aim of this work to bring modern readers to a deeper appreciation of how, from the early centuries of the Christian period through to the recent beginnings of the modern world, the human story could not be told and human life could not be lived apart from the ‘life’ of the Devil. With that comes the deeper recognition that, for the better part of the last two thousand years, the battle between good and evil in the hearts and minds of men and women was but the reflection of a cosmic battle between God and Satan, the divine and the diabolic, that was at the heart of history itself."—from The Devil

Lucifer, Mephistopheles, Beelzebub; Ha-Satan or the Adversary; Iblis or Shaitan: no matter what name he travels under, the Devil has throughout the ages and across civilizations been a compelling and charismatic presence. In Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, the supposed reign of God has long been challenged by the fiery malice of his opponent, as contending forces of good and evil have between them weighed human souls in the balance.

In The Devil, Philip C. Almond explores the figure of evil incarnate from the first centuries of the Christian era. Along the way, he describes the rise of demonology as an intellectual and theological pursuit, the persecution as witches of women believed to consort with the Devil and his minions, and the decline in the belief in Hell and in angels and demons as corporeal beings as a result of the Enlightenment. Almond shows that the Prince of Darkness remains an irresistible subject in history, religion, art, literature, and culture.

Almond brilliantly locates the “life” of the Devil within the broader Christian story of which it is inextricably a part; the “demonic paradox” of the Devil as both God’s enforcer and his enemy is at the heart of Christianity. Woven throughout the account of the Christian history of the Devil is another complex and complicated history: that of the idea of the Devil in Western thought. Sorcery, witchcraft, possession, even melancholy, have all been laid at the Devil’s doorstep. Until the Enlightenment enforced a “disenchantment” with the old archetypes, even rational figures such as Thomas Aquinas were obsessed with the nature of the Devil and the specific characteristics of the orders of demons and angels. It was a significant moment both in the history of demonology and in theology when Benedict de Spinoza (1632–1677) denied the Devil’s existence; almost four hundred years later, popular fascination with the idea of the Devil has not yet dimmed.

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You might consider getting a Kindle ebook reader:

Amazon.com has manymillions of movies, TV shows, songs, magazines, books, and audiobooks available for download into their Kindle eBook reader or Kindle app. As of 2013-NOV, readers cost from $79 and up.

Benefits to the Kindle:

  • Amazon provides FREE reader apps that you can dowload to your PC, tablet, and many other devices.
  • Various models of Kindles can store from 1,000 to 3,500 books and are more more portable than lugging thousands of books with you.
  • Ebooks can save a lot of money, because eBook versions generally cost significantly less than print versions.
  • Amazon makes a suprisingly large number of books available at no cost. Over a million cost $4.99 or less.
  • Delivery of the books over the Internet is free and almost instantaneous.
  • You don't need to build or expand bookshelves.
  • You don't need to dust off Kindle copies of books.
  • Think of all the trees that would be saved if more people abandoned printed copies.
  • They have a built-in dictionary.
  • They are very light and thinner than a pencil.
  • Many books can be lent to other Kindle or Kindle app users.
  • Battery life if you use a kindle for 30 minutes a day is 4 weeks.

    However, beware that some publishers take advantage of buyers, and charge more for the digital versions than for the print versions.

Ebooks have a search function. You can select passages from books and store them in a text file for use by an editor program on a PC or Mac. They have a built-in dictionary to find the meanings of words.

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Click on the Kindle picture -- not on the "Shop now" link
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Originally written: 2009-MAY-03
Latest update: 2015-JAN-03
Author: B.A. Robinson
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