and the Bible: The Biblical Depiction of Satan

Guess the History Channel folks were just calling it like they saw it. If their depiction of Satan (or anything else, for that matter) offends you or if you don’t agree with it, you can simply change the channel. Vote with your remote, so to speak.

Gustave Doré, Depiction of Satan, a central figure in John Milton's Paradise Lost c

I find this poem so interesting because, although similar in some aspects, it is so different from the normal depiction of Satan’s fall from grace in Christian sources. Instead of challenging God's position in heaven with an army, he simply butts heads with him over the lump of clay that is Adam. I believe this is closer to the Islamic account of . You may also notice the Greek influence on the Persian culture through the discourse on transmutation and the ranking of elements.

Gustave Doré, Depiction of Satan, the antagonist of John ..

possible influence of the masque upon Milton's depiction of Satan and The 16th century is when we begin to see real personified depictions of Satan, before then there was very little of the devil in art. In fact, there are no depictions of the devil in art before medieval times. The existence of Satan was only made official by the Ecumenical Council of 553. So as it was uncertain as to whether the devil existed or not there was no need for the Church to commission depictions of him. Up until the 6th century, we do see serpents and dragons depicted as the spiritual enemies of mankind, but there after, the devil as a persona as well as demons and gargoyles are a common theme.

Depiction of Satan by Paul Gustave Doré - Museum Syndicate

The 16th century is when we begin to see real personified depictions of Satan, before then there was very little of the devil in art. In fact, there are no depictions of the devil in art before medieval times. The existence of Satan was only made official by the Ecumenical Council of 553. So as it was uncertain as to whether the devil existed or not there was no need for the Church to commission depictions of him. Up until the 6th century, we do see serpents and dragons depicted as the spiritual enemies of mankind, but there after, the devil as a persona as well as demons and gargoyles are a common theme.

However, the truth is that it is a depiction of Satan


While I mention it, Blake's own depiction of Satan is also worth having a look at. His conception of Satan is a fool ('truly my Satan thou art a dunce, And dost not know the Garment from the Man') or a dehumanising force ('was Jerusalem builded here amongst these dark Satanic mills?'); but in Blake moved far beyond typical conceptions of the antipathy between good and evil. The following quote is preceded by the note 'The voice of the Devil' in the text (I've tidied up some of the erratic punctuation):It’s no accident that artistic representations of Satan reached a peak at the same time as the Church did during the thirteenth century. The concept of the Devil was used by the Catholic Church to extend their influence over moral, social and political conduct. Clear distinctions were made between godly and ungodly. Indigenous religions displaced by the Church were branded as the work of Satan, and the fear of Satan was used as a powerful tool for conversion. Then, as the Renaissance approached and Christianity waned as the dominant social and political force, so too did the depictions of Satan and his minions in art.