Deliver Us from Evil: Interpreting the Redemption from the Power of Satan in New Testament Theology
The New Testament idea of deliverance from the power of Satan has posed special problems and even acute embarrassment for interpreters since the Enlightenment. Often the Gospel exorcisms are rationalized or a demythologizing agenda is pursued which divorces redemption from the world in which we live.Richard H. Bell stresses that if the deliverance from Satan is understood within an appropriate understanding of myth, then it can lead not only to an enrichment of New Testament Theology but also to a deeper understanding of the world in which we find ourselves. A theory of myth is developed which does justice not only to the world of 'narrative' but also to the mysteries of the 'physical world'. This is done by building on the phenomenal distinction as introduced by Kant and further developed by Schopenhauer. The resulting theory of myth is then applied to two seemingly disparate examples of redemption from Satan found in the New Testament: first, the exorcisms of Jesus; secondly, the redemption of the human being from the power of Satan through the cross and resurrection of Christ as found in the Pauline tradition and in the letter to the Hebrews. Then the author makes an attempt to relate these two forms of redemption to each other and to draw some conclusions as to how these myths of deliverance from Satan can be considered true.
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