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Satan’s Biography, from Beginnings to Pepys’s London
Los Angeles, 90095 United States + Google Map
Annual William & Lois Matthews Samuel Pepys Lecture
Satan appears in the Hebrew Scriptures (Books of Job and Zechariah) as a celestial accuser and prosecutor of humans, eager to uncover the vices that lie below seeming virtue; he is a figure on the order of our own J. Edgar Hoover. This characterization persists throughout the New Testament, with Jesus predicting that he will soon be dismissed from his position of authority. But the early Church Fathers transformed him from God’s hard-nosed Attorney General into Lucifer, a rebellious angel, whose goal it is to corrupt virtuous humans, depriving them of God’s kingdom and damning them to his own. The most disappointing literary portrayal of this new Devil is Dante’s inert blubberer in the Inferno, while the most striking is Milton’s renowned character in Paradise Lost. This Satan was first presented to the world in London in the 1660’s, but he and his author went unremarked by Samuel Pepys in his diary.
Distinguished Research Professor Henry Ansgar Kelly (English, UCLA), a long-time CMRS faculty member and former CMRS Director, presents this year’s Samuel Pepys Lecture.
The Samuel Pepys Lecture series is made possible by an endowment left to the Center by former CMRS Director William Matthews and his wife Lois.
Advance registration required.