Contemporary Religious Satanism A Critical Anthology
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.
’... 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 an