- Edited by Jesper Aagaard Petersen, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway
- Series : Ashgate New Religions
The Church of Satan was founded by Anton LaVey on April 30, 1966. In his hands, Satan became a provocative symbol for indulgence, vital existence, natural wisdom and the human being's true animal nature. At present, religious Satanism exists primarily as a decentralized subculture with a strong internet presence within a larger Satanic milieu in Western culture. Though most are inspired by LaVey, the majority of contemporary Satanists are not members of the Church of Satan. The various expressions of modern Satanism all navigate in today's detraditionalized religious market through the creative appropriation of popular culture, philosophy, literature and religion. The concrete solutions are varied; but they all understand the power of transgression allying oneself with a most powerful symbol of resistance, namely Satan. Thus, contemporary religious Satanism could be understood as a complex negotiation of atheism, secularism, esotericism and self: A "self-religion" in the modern age.
Despite the fascinating nature of religious Satanism, it has attracted little scholarship until relatively recently. This book brings together a group of international scholars to produce the first serious book-length study of religious Satanism, presenting a collection that will have wide appeal to specialists and non-specialists alike. The first part contains broader studies of influential groups and important aspects of the Satanic milieu, especially regarding historical developments, the construction of tradition and issues of legitimacy. The second part narrows the view to regional variations, especially with studies on Northern and Eastern Europe. The third part consists of primary documents selected for their representational and informational value.
Contents: Introduction: embracing Satan, Jesper Aagaard Petersen; Part I Broader Studies: History, Tradition, Legitimacy: Satanism: performing alterity and othering, Graham Harvey; Infernal legitimacy, James R. Lewis; Darkness within: Satanism as a self-religion, Asbjørn Dyrendal; Self-conscious routinization and the post-charismatic fate of the church of Satan from 1997 to the present, Maxwell Davies; Embracing others: the multiple Princes of Darkness in the left hand path milieu, Kenneth Granholm; The devil's down in Dixie: studying Satanism in south Georgia, Kathleen Lowney. Part II Regional Studies: The peculiarities of Lithuanian Satanism: between crime and atheism in cyberspace, Milda Alisauskiene; Satanism in Estonia, Ringo Ringvee; Cyber-Satanism and imagined Satanism: dark symptoms of late modernity, Rafal Smoczynski; Social democratic Satanism? Some examples of Satanism in Scandinavia, Didrik Søderlind and Asbjørn Dyrendal; With my art I am the fist in the face of God': on old-school black metal, Gry Mørk; Italian martyrs of 'Satanism': Sister Maria Laura Mainetti and Father Giorgio Govoni, Andrea Menegotto; Speculating on the point 003 percent? Some remarks on the chaotic Satanic minorities in the UK, Dave Evans. Part III Primary Documents: Reflections on Satanism, Vexen Crabtree; Excerpt from Lords of the Left Hand Path: a history of spiritual dissent, Stephen E. Flowers; Dark doctrines: 2 examples, Tani Jantsang; The Satanic politic, Nathan Wardinski; The culture cult, Ole Wolf; Index.
Reviews: ‘… further contributes to understanding modern Satanism in contemporary social life.’ Religion Watch
‘… bearing this misinformation about religious Satanism in mind and thinking of its social and cultural significance, this volume is to be welcomed. Indeed, it is surprising that there have been so few studies of contemporary religious Satanism and, until the publication of this volume, no book-length scholarly analyses of the variety of Satanist communities, beliefs, attitudes and practices.… we are indebted to Jesper Petersen for gathering together an international group of scholars and insiders who have, overall, produced an excellent series of essays... this volume and Medway’s
Lure of the Sinister provide a clear, wise and comprehensive guide to Satanism that will be difficult to rival for many years to come.… an indispensable resource for university courses on new religions.’ Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review
'This book looks objectively at what self-proclaiming Satanists believe and practise and is therefore a welcome addition to the literature. ... one hopes [...] that its carefully researched findings encourage more scholars to buck official resistance and give this tiny, but influential sect its fair due in the marketplace of new religions.’ Journal of contemporary religion
'Contemporary Religious Satanism is a welcome addition to the scholarly literature on Satanism. As most of the books on the topic
are geared toward a popular nonfiction audience and/or are outdated, there is a very real need for this kind of collection. Furthermore, as the literature on Satanism has so far focused on the Anglo-American world, this book is the first to bring together a diverse
collection of scholars of different nationalities and different disciplinary and theoretical backgrounds. As such it can only be
recommended as a sourcebook for students, scholars, and the broader audience often struggling with the question of Satanism.' Religion and Society - Advances in Research
'Contemporary Religious Satanism will certainly help define the satanic current as a dynamic individualist interweave of darkside occultism and skeptical atheism. It will be of great interest to scholars of contemporary magic, new religious movements, neopaganism, and all those interested in religious constructions that both embrace and resist the conundrums of a modernity in twilight.' Magic, Ritual and Witchcraft
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