The History of the Devil
The History of the Devil can best be described as a rudimentary, basic and predictable approach to the concept of the personification of evil. It will render no surprises or new information for those who have done any ounce of study on the topic, but could be seen as a sufficient “The Devil for Dummies”.
Hopefully anyone beginning a more serious look into the topic will not stop here though and hopefully people won’t walk away pretending they know how the idea of the personification of evil is understood across the board.
To cut a long story short, it presents the idea that the concept of dualistic divine forces of good and evil personified in gods representing both, began with the philosopher, Zoroaster. It paints the picture that this understanding was then combined with the Jewish understanding of a divine antagonist – Satan, the prosecutor figure in the courts of God – and later, the Greek mythological figure of Hades and what eventuated was the predominant and popular understanding of the figure we call “the devil”.
The documentary moves through different understandings of evil and the personified image of the devil, making that figure out to be something that changes depending on cultural forces. The devil is painted as a figure expedient to political desires.
The predictable figures are given airtime such as the inquisition, witch hunts, the development of the church of Satan and following right through to Osama Bin Laden and George Bush.
Stylistically the documentary feels cheap. Filling the interviews out with representations of the Devil in art throughout history and with people dressed up in satanic costume. The music is cheap and could have easily been taken from mass production imaging CD’s.
It is a sufficient TV documentary, but I would not recommend purchasing the DVD – borrow it if you want to see it.
Interviews include such people as clergy (including the recognised scholar – Bishop N.T Wright), professors, authors and members of the L.A church of Satan.
Reviewed by: Frank Ritchie