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Satanism is a complex and controversial phenomenon co-existing in many social and rhetorical contexts. Some consider it the root of all evil in the world. Others see it as a juvenile proxy for rebellion or as a misapplication of serious esoteric beliefs and practices. Then again, some consider it a specific religious or philosophical position serving as a personal and collective identity. This book, written by three experts in the field of Satanism studies, examines Satanism as a contemporary movement in continuous dialogue with popular culture, aiding as a breeding ground for other new religious movements.
Shifting the focus from mythology to meaning-making, this is a book about the invention of Satanism among self-declared religious Satanists. Like all ideologists and believers, Satanists incorporate, borrow, and modify elements from other traditions, and this book explores how traditional folklore and prior strands of occultism were synthesized by Anton LaVey in his founding of the Church of Satan and the creation of the Satanic Bible. Later chapters examine contemporary Satanist subcultures from various perspectives, also demonstrating how Satanism, despite its brief history as an organized phenomenon, continues to reinvent itself. There are now numerous Satanisms with distinctive interpretations of what being a Satanist entails, with some of these new versions deviating more from the historical "mainstream" than others. In this fascinating account of a seemingly abstruse and often-feared movement, Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen demonstrate that the invention of Satanism is an ongoing, ever-evolving process.
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