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date: 16 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Modern religious Satanism is a diverse movement of groups and individuals using Satan as a symbol for their oppositional identity. Translating Satan as “opposer” or “adversary” from the book of Job, Satanism co-opts the Satan-myth and reinterprets it as an antinomian critique of traditional mores championing radical individualism, using the language and aesthetics of magic, esotericism, and the occult. As the history of the development of the character of Satan—theologically, politically, socially, mythologically—is one of opposition and conflict, modern religious Satanism is a constant negotiation with its own marginal status and inherent tensions. Satanism’s position on the fringe is a balancing act between its contentious popular reputation, media treatments, academic portrayals, legal status, critique of social conventions, and disagreement among and between self-identified satanic persons and groups. This paper examines Satanism’s embrace of a symbol of opposition—Satan—as it negotiates the very tensions and challenges of its adopted social marginality.

Keywords: Satanism, media, Anton Szandor LaVey, Church of Satan, Michael Aquino, Temple of Set, Lucien Greaves, Satanic Temple, marginality

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