Book about God & Satan
December 22, 2009 12:13 PM   Subscribe

A couple of years ago, I read a review of a book that sounded really interesting, but I can't find it now. The book was about a man who found some ancient documents that proved that Satan was good and God was evil (for instance, God denied Adam and Eve access to the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil). Apparently many people took this book to be non-fiction, and it caused a bit of hue & cry. Does anyone know the name of the book?? Thank you.
posted by LauraJ to Writing & Language (8 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Could it be "The Gospel According to Jesus Christ" by Jose Saramago? It's been a long time since I've read it, but this may be the one you're looking for.
posted by WyoWhy at 12:18 PM on December 22, 2009

I'm not sure of the exact title, but what you're mentioning is a common idea in Gnosticism (or Gnostic Christianity). I read several books on this subject during my degrees in religion, and I can't really remember any of them being standouts.

The relevant theology is something like: what many people worship as God is in fact a lesser intermediary between humans that the real God, and he/it doesn't want knowledge (represented by the apple in the Genesis narrative) dispersed among people lest he/it lose their worship. The real God appears in the form of the snake in the Genesis story, but Christianity has subsequently mistaken it as the devil.

Sorry if this is a bit mumbled; just woke up. Can provide more detail if that would help.
posted by iftheaccidentwill at 12:21 PM on December 22, 2009

I'm pretty sure the book you're thinking of is The Devil's Apocrypha.

If there was any "hue and cry" over this book, it completely escaped me. As iftheaccidentwill, this is a much-used literary trope.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:50 PM on December 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

A couple big ones that don't fit your description much at all but kinda-sorta might be it just for the brouhaha: The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie and The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown.

Another long shot: Could it be The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis?
posted by Sys Rq at 1:16 PM on December 22, 2009

Thanks all. I think Sidhedevil was right and it is "The Devil's Apocrypha". Your responses also led to some interesting reading on gnosticism. Cheers!
posted by LauraJ at 1:51 PM on December 22, 2009

Sidhedevil is correct; I was coming in here to say that. My boyfriend used the book as one of his sources for a paper on Gnosticism, primarily that Yahweh of the Jews is the same person as the Christian Devil.
posted by herbaliser at 1:58 PM on December 22, 2009

primarily that Yahweh of the Jews is the same person as the Christian Devil.

How charming.

LauraJ, you might also be thinking of some of the hullabaloo surrounding the Gospel of Judas text, a gnostic document that the National Geographic was hyping the hell out of a while ago.
posted by felix betachat at 3:27 PM on December 22, 2009

Given the historical anti-semitism of (some of) Christiandom, herbaliser's point makes a lot of sense, charming or not.
posted by gjc at 5:51 PM on December 22, 2009

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