Bracketing Beelzebub

Introducing the Academic Study of Satanism

Authors

  • Jesper Aagaard Petersen Norwegian University of Science and Technology

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/ijsnr.v4i2.161

Keywords:

Satanism, Satanism studies, discourse, boundary-work, research methods

Abstract

What Satanism is and is not occupies both scholars and informants. Through a discussion of three stages of academic reinterpretation, the boundary-work of the academic study of Satanism is uncovered. The first stage of de-demonization is dividing the cultural narratives of evil from self-ascribed Satanism. The second stage of sanitization is positing the organized and non-threatening aspects of Satanism adopted from specific satanic groups as Satanism as such. The third stage of heterogenization is returning to an understanding of the subject based on plurality and fluidity to better examine the polyvocality of Satanism today. By showing the blind spots of Satanism studies, we can address the field in novel ways.

Author Biography

Jesper Aagaard Petersen, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Associate Professor, Programme for Teacher Education

References

Alfred, R. H. 1976 “The Church of Satan.” In The New Religious Consciousness, edited by C. Y. Glock and R. N. Bellah, 180–204. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Asprem, E. 2012 Arguing with Angels: Enochian Magic and Modern Occulture. New York: State University of New York Press.

----- forthcoming. “Goetia and Modern Western Magic. Man, Myth and Magic.”

Barton, B. 1990 The Church of Satan. New York: Hell’s Kitchen Productions.

Bromley, D. G. and S. G. Ainsley. 1995 “Satanism and Satanic Churches: The Contemporary Incarnations.” In America’s Alternative Religions, edited by T. Miller, 401–409. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Davidsen, M. A. 2012 “What is Wrong with Pagan Studies?” Method and Theory in the Study of Religion 24 (2012): 183–199. http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/157006812X634881

Drury, N. 2011 Stealing Fire from Heaven: The Rise of Modern Western Magic. Oxford: Oxford University Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199750993.001.0001

Dyrendal, A. 2008 “Devilish Consumption: Popular Culture in Satanic Socialization.” Numen 55(1): 68–98. http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/156852708X289009

----- 2012 “Satan and the Beast: The Influence of Aleister Crowley on Modern Satanism.” In Aleister Crowley and Western Esotericism, edited by H. Bogdan and M. P. Starr, 369–395. New York: Oxford University Press. http://dx.doi. org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199863075.003.0015

----- 2013 “Hidden Persuaders and Invisible Wars: Anton LaVey and Conspiracy Culture.” In The Devil’s Party: Satanism in Modernity, edited by P. Faxneld and J. Aa. Petersen, 123–140. New York: Oxford University Press.

Faxneld, P. 2011 “The Strange Case of Ben Kadosh: A Luciferian Pamphlet from 1906 and its Current Renaissance.” Aries 11 (1): 1–22. http://dx.doi. org/10.1163/156798911X546152

----- 2013 “Secret Lineages and de Facto Satanists: Anton LaVey’s Use of Esoteric Tradition.” In Contemporary Esotericism, edited by E. Asprem and K. Granholm, 72–91. London: Equinox.

Faxneld, P. and J. Aa. Petersen, eds. 2013 The Devil’s Party: Satanism in Modernity. New York: Oxford University Press.

Freedland, N. 1972 The Occult Explosion. London: Michael Joseph.

Gieryn, T. 1983 “Boundary-Work and the Demarcation of Science from Non-Science: Strains and Interests in Professional Ideologies of Scientists.” American Sociological Review 48 (6): 781–795. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2095325

Godwin, J. 1972 Occult America. New York: Doubleday.

Granholm, K. 2009 “Embracing Others than Satan: The Multiple Princes of Darkness in the Left-Hand Path Milieu.” In Contemporary Religious Satanism: A Critical Anthology, edited by J. Aa. Petersen, 85–102. Farnham: Ashgate.

----- 2013a “The Left-Hand Path and Post-Satanism: The Temple of Set and the Evolution of Satanism.” In The Devil’s Party: Satanism in Modernity, edited by P. Faxneld and J. Aa. Petersen, 229–250. New York: Oxford University Press.

----- 2013b “Ritual Black Metal: Popular Music as Occult Mediation and Practice.” Correspondences 1 (1): 5–33.

Frankfurter, D. 2006 Evil Incarnate: Rumors of Demonic Conspiracy and Satanic Abuse in History. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Hanegraaff, W. J. 2013 Western Esotericism: A Guide for the Perplexed. London: Bloomsbury.

Harvey, G. 1995 “Satanism in Britain Today.” Journal of Contemporary Religion 10 (3): 283–296. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13537909508580747

Holt, C. 2012 “Satanists and Scholars: A Historiographic Overview and Critique of Scholarship on Religious Satanism.” Unpublished M.A. thesis, Department of Religion, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada.

Introvigne, M. 1997 Enquête sur le satanisme: Satanistes et anti-satanistes du XVIIe siecle á nos jours. Paris: Éditions Dervy.

Jenkins, P. 2000 Mystics and Messiahs: Cults and New Religions in American History. New York: Oxford University Press.

----- 2004 “Satanism and Ritual Abuse.” In Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements, edited by J. R. Lewis, 221–242. New York: Oxford University Press.

LaVey, A. S. 1969 The Satanic Bible. New York: Avon Books.

Lewis, J. R. 2001 “Who Serves Satan? A Demographic and Ideological Profile.” Marburg Journal of Religion 6 (2). Online. Retrieved from http://www.uni-marburg.de/ fb03/ivk/mjr/past_issues/1999-2001

----- 2002 “Diabolical Authority: Anton LaVey, The Satanic Bible and the Satanist “Tradition.” Marburg Journal of Religion 6(2). Online. Retrieved from http://www.uni-marburg.de/fb03/ivk/mjr/past_issues/2002-2004

------ 2010 “Fit for the Devil: Toward an Understanding of ‘Conversion’ to Satanism.” International Journal for the Study of New Religions 1 (1): 117–138. 2013 “Conversion to Satanism: Constructing Diabolical Identities.” In The Devil’s Party: Satanism in Modernity, edited by P. Faxneld and J. Aa. Petersen, 145–167. New York: Oxford University Press.

Lowney, K. 1995 “Teenage Satanism as Oppositional Youth Subculture.” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 23 (4): 453–484. http://dx.doi. org/10.1177/089124195023004003

Lyons, A. 1970 The Second Coming: Satanism in America. New York: Dodd, Mead and Co.

Medway, G. J. 2001 Lure of the Sinister: The Unnatural History of Satanism. New York: New York University Press.

Melton, J. G. 2008 “An Introduction to New Religions.” In Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements, edited by J. R. Lewis, 16–35. New York: Oxford University Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195369649.003.0002

Moody, E. J. 1974 “Magical Therapy: An Anthropological Investigation of Contemporary Satanism.” In Religious Movements in Contemporary America, edited by I. I. Zaretsky and M. P. Leone, 355–382. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Moynihan, M., and D. Søderlind. 1998 Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground. Venice, CA: Feral House.

Parfrey, A., ed. 1990 [1987] Apocalypse Culture (2nd ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Feral House.

Petersen, J. Aa. 2008 “Binary Satanism: The Construction of Community in a Digital World.” In The Encyclopedic Sourcebook of Satanism, edited by J. R. Lewis and J. Aa. Petersen, 593–610. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.

----- 2009a. “Introduction: Embracing Satan.” In Contemporary Religious Satanism: A Critical Anthology, edited by J. Aa. Petersen, 1–25. Farnham: Ashgate.

----- 2011 Between Darwin and the Devil: Modern Satanism as Discourse, Milieu, and Self. Unpublished PhD dissertation, Department of Archaeology and Religious Studies, NTNU, Trondheim, Norway.

----- 2012 “The Seeds of Satan: Conceptions of Magic in Contemporary Satanism.” Aries 12(1): 91–129. http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/147783512X614849

----- 2013a “The Carnival of Dr. LaVey: Articulations of Transgression in Modern Satanism.” In The Devil’s Party: Satanism in Modernity, edited by P. Faxneld and J. Aa. Petersen, 167–189. New York: Oxford University Press.

----- 2013b “From Book to Bit: Enacting Satanism Online.” In Contemporary Esotericism, edited by K. Granholm and E. Asprem, 134–159. London: Equinox.

Petersen, J. Aa. (ed.) 2009 Contemporary Religious Satanism: A Critical Anthology. Farnham; Burlington: Ashgate.

Petros, G. 2007 Art that Kills: A Panoramic Portrait of Aesthetic Terrorism 1984–2001. N.p.: Creation Books.

Richardson, J. T., J. Best and D. G. Bromley, eds. 1991 The Satanism Scare. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.

Roberts, S. 1971 Witches U.S.A. New York: Dell Publishing.

Truzzi, M. 1972 “The Occult Revival as Popular Culture: Some Random Observations on the Old and the Noveau Witch.” The Sociological Quarterly 13 (Winter): 16–36. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1533-8525.1972.tb02101.x

----- 1974 “Towards a Sociology of the Occult: Notes on Modern Witchcraft.” In Religious Movements in Contemporary America, edited by I. I. Zaretsky and M. P. Leone, 628–645. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Urban, H. B. 2006 Magia Sexualis: Sex, Magic, and Liberation in Modern Western Esotericism. Berkeley: University of California Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520247765.001.0001

Victor, J. S. 1993 Satanic Panic: The Creation of a Contemporary Legend. Chicago; La Salle: Open Court.

White, E. D. 2012 “In Defense of Pagan Studies: A Response to Davidsen’s Critique.” Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies 14(1): 5–21.

Published

2014-01-07

How to Cite

Petersen, J. (2014). Bracketing Beelzebub: Introducing the Academic Study of Satanism. International Journal for the Study of New Religions, 4(2), 161–176. https://doi.org/10.1558/ijsnr.v4i2.161

Issue

Section

Articles