Talk of the Devil: unpacking the language of new testament satanology

02 Jun 2017

This article builds from the count of NT Satan references produced in ?Diabolical Data?: A Critical Inventory of New Testament Satanology' (JSNT 39.1). Linguistic-statistical tools unveil the literary distribution of Satan language across NT writings, showing Satan to be ?topical? in 14/27 NT books and following a fairly even distribution, correlated to word count. Satan is a consistent feature within NT discourse, characterized by very rich language but also a consolidation of that language through the use of synonyms. The coherence of the NT portrait of Satan stands out from the inconstant and loosely connected Satan language of Second Temple Judaism, suggesting a new departure in early Christianity. The implications of this ?Satanology? are considered for wider projects in NT studies, for the history of religions and hermeneutics. The problem this study sets for future interpreters is that of exploring and explaining the distinctive nature of NT Satanology both in its context and for today?s readers.