Thursday, 30 April 2015

Felicidad Oberholzer: The Devil, Demons, and the Problem of Evil in Athanasius' The Life of St. Anthony

In stories of Early Christians engaging in spiritual warfare, such as one finds in Athanasius' Life of St. Anthony, modern readers often struggle with the idea of evil personified in beings, be it Satan or other demons. A common option is to treat them either as genuine beings in enmity to God and humans, or as psychological phenomena, an "inner demon" representing one's own enmity with God and self. This need not be an either/or choice. Inasmuch as the demons attack the psyche (considered as both soul and mind), psychology, especially in the Jungian tradition, can provide useful access to a deeper understanding of the experiences related in these early stories. This communication will explore this possibility in the Life of St. Anthony.

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