SOUNDINGS IN SATANISM by F. J. -- Ed. Sheed

SOUNDINGS IN SATANISM

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The Prince of Darkness in all his incarnations and manifestations respectfully surveyed by seventeen somewhat cautious souls, all of them impressed by his mythopoetic persistence. Several contributors examine the phenomenon of diabolical possession in the 17th century offering both theological and psychological perspectives (none of them very original) on the demonopathy of the Loudun devils and the witches of Salem, Massachusetts whose blasphemies and seizures may or may not have been self-induced. An excerpt from J. K. Huysmans' La Bas evokes a scarifying 19th-century Parisian Black Mass and Dostoevski's wrestling matches with the Evil One in The Possessed and The Brothers K. are ably analyzed by Jacques Madaule. Germain Bazin looks at Satan's many visages in art and concludes that compared with the imaginative fecundity of Indian and Chinese representations, the West (with the exception of Hieronymus Bosch) has shown ""little aptitude for demonology."" Only one of the several clergyman-contributors, Richard Woods, considers -- somewhat inconclusively -- the contemporary revival of Satanism in the proliferation of Manson-like cults, in Anton La Vey's Church of Satan (7000 plus members) and in fiction and film. The overall consensus is that liberal theologians, Freudians and secularists have been a mite hasty in dismissing the ugly wretch whose ability to provoke plagues and perversions has endowed him with a horrific psychological reality -- whatever his ontological status. John Updike, who supplies the introduction, is, like the rest, uneasy about the evil that lurks within.

Pub Date: Jan. 29th, 1972
Publisher: Sheed & Ward