Satan’s Rhetoric

A Study of Renaissance Demonology

Armando Maggi

Satan’s Rhetoric

Armando Maggi

256 pages | 5 halftones, 16 line drawings | 6 x 9 | © 2001
Cloth $55.00 ISBN: 9780226501321 Published September 2001
According to Christian theology, fallen angels share key similarities with human beings because they share our outcast condition. Cast to Earth and wandering in search of respite, their chief activity is their engagement and dialogue with humanity.

With this probing new contribution to the study of Christianity, Armando Maggi examines this dialogue, exploring how evil spirits interacted with mankind during the early modern period. Reading innumerable treatises on demonology written during the Renaissance, including Thesaurus exorcismorum, the most important record of early modern exorcisms, Maggi finds repeated attempts to define the language exchanged between the fallen progeny of Adam, and the most notorious fallen angel of them all, Satan. Using points of departure taken from de Certeau and Lacan, Maggi shows that Satan articulates his language first and foremost in the mind. More than speaking, the devil tries to make human beings understand his language and speak it themselves. Through sodomites, infidels, and witches, then, the devil is able to infect humanity as it appropriates his seductive rhetoric.

Words Beclouding the Eyes: An Introduction

The Devil’s Perverted Syllogism:
Prierio’s De Strigimagis

The Word’s "Ceremonies": Natural and Unnatural Langauge
according to de Moura’s De Ensalmis

To Vomit the Name of the Morning Star:
Creation as Metaphor in Menghi and Polidori’s
Thesaurus Exorcismorum

Walking in the Garden of Purgatory: The Discourse of the
Mind in the Probation of St. Maria Maddalena de’ Pazzi

To Dream Insomnia: Human Mind and Demonic
Enlightenment in Cardano’s Metoposcopia

The Epic Triumph of the Church, Its Melancholy,
and the Persistence of Sodom: A Conclusion


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