The temptation of Christ: a ten point idiosyncratic interpretation

This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series Satan & demons: Thomas Farrar's commentary

Ex-Christadelphian Tom Farrar has written a ten point interpretation of the temptation of Christ in the wilderness, aimed at supporting his personal satanology. The list is idiosyncratic in that it makes various arguments which are unique to Farrar, and which are contradicted or dismissed in the scholarly literature. This article lists and critiques each of Farrar’s points.

Claim 1: The genre of the Gospels is narrative.

This claim is contradicted by the scholarly consensus; the genre is haggagic midrash, not narrative. Despite its superficial appearance as a simple historical record, the Synoptic account of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness1 has often been interpreted as symbolic or parabolic of Jesus’ experiences, since the early Christian era.2 The popularity of this interpretation waxed and waned throughout history; Origen understood the account as a dramatized parable,3 Aquinas opposed those who interpreted the temptations as visionary,4 and the view was common among early Reformers, finding its way into the marginal commentary of early printed Bibles.5 Current scholarly commentary typically treats the wilderness temptation account as a visionary experience,6 symbolic description,7 or dramatization of events throughout Jesus’ ministry,8 and commentaries advise against reading the account as literally historical.9

Rather than being read as historical narrative, the temptation account is generally understood to take the form of haggadic midrash10 (non-historical commentary used to illustrate interpretations of the sacred text11). Thus the aim of the temptation account is to explicate the relevance of Biblical passages to Jesus’ messianic mission rather than simply recount historical events (though it may do so in the process).

Claim 2: The importance of Mark’s account

Farrar asserts “Mark shows that there are two independent and early strands of tradition which attribute Jesus’ temptations to Satan/the devil”, and that Mark’s account suggests he “regarded ho satanas as a proper name or, at the least, as a specific theological term well known to his readers”. The identity of this satan, Farrar says, is most likely “a concept of ‘satan’ found in the Old Testament and/or intertestamental Judaism”. Farrar believes this concept of satan was of a supernatural evil being (specifically a fallen angel), with the personal name ‘Satan’, but fails to present any evidence for this.

Three terms are used to describe Christ’s adversary in the Synoptic temptation accounts; ‘satan’ (ho satanas in Mark 1:12, with the vocative satana without the definite article only in Matthew 4:10), ‘the tempter’ (ho peirazwn, only in Matthew 4:3), and ‘the devil’ (ho diabolos). Elsewhere in Matthew (and only Matthew), the term ‘the evil one’ (ho ponēros), may also be used (Matthew 5:37; 6:13; 13:19, 38), though this is debated in the literature.12 Lexicographical evidence contradicts the assumption that these terms normatively referred to a supernatural evil being in the first century. In Second Temple Period literature the term ‘satan’ (whether in Hebrew or Greek), is predominantly used as a common noun rather than a personal name, the term ‘the devil’ (ho diabolos), is rarely if ever used to refer to a supernatural evil being, and the terms ‘the tempter’ (ho peirazwn), and ‘the evil one’ (ho ponēros), have no pre-Christian witness with such a meaning.

The term satan, whether in Greek (satanas), or Hebrew (śāṭān), is used rarely in pre-Christian literature13 and never as a proper name.14 Consequently, Laato notes that ‘we lack an established tradition whereby the name of the personal Evil or the leader of demons is Satan’.15

Claim 3: Not a devil but ‘the’ devil; not a satan but ‘the’ satan

Farrar is right to say the use of the definite article in reference to the satan of the temptation accounts (ho satanas and ho diabolos, referring to ‘the satan’ and ‘the devil’), indicates a specific satan or devil is being spoken of. However, he is wrong to claim that this means the terms must necessarily always have the same referent in the New Testament. This is recognized in mainstream scholarship. The devil/satan of the wilderness temptation has been interpreted as the evil inclination16 or as a representation of human opposition faced by Christ during his ministry,17 even without denying a witness to a supernatural devil in the gospels; the devil in Revelation 2-3 has been interpreted as Rome even while attributing to John a belief in a supernatural devil;18 the satan of Romans 16:20 has been interpreted as ‘those people “who will cause dissentions and offenses” (Rom 16:17) for members of the congregations in Rome’19 even while attributing to Paul a belief in a supernatural devil.

Clearly these scholars do not agree with Farrar that ho satanas and ho diabolos in the New Testament must necessarily always have the same referent. One of the most likely reasons for this is that (unlike you?), critical scholars understand that since the New Testament consists of a collection of books written by a range of different authors to a range of different audiences (who may have different ideas of what devil/satan means to them), for a range of different purposes, there is no need to enforce an artificial unity on the texts and assume that devil/satan must have only one referent throughout the entire New Testament corpus. It is well recognized in scholarship that this is the position of satan in the Old Testament.20

Claim 4: The devil came and said…

Farrar claims that the use of the Greek verb proserchomai (‘came’), together with the verb epw (‘say’), indicates that the temptation must necessarily have been a literal encounter with a personal being. Whilst acknowledging proserchomai can be used in a figurative sense, he argues that such usage is rare, not part of Matthew’s established style, and that Matthew’s use of proserchomai with another verb typically introduces a literal encounter between two people, thus militating against the idea that Jesus’ temptation was figurative, symbolic, or visionary. However, as has already been demonstrated when addressing claim one of this article, such arguments hold no weight with the consensus of scholars who believe the temptation accounts are not historical narrative, and that the temptation itself was indeed figurative, symbolic, or visionary.

Claim 5: The devil left and angels came

Here Farrar simply repeats the same argument he made in claim four; that the language used to speak of the devil leaving Jesus and the angels coming to him, indicates the event must necessarily have been a literal historical encounter. See the response to claim four in this article, to understand why this argument is invalid.

Claim 6 Dialogue between a person and a personification?

Farrar claims that the description of dialogue between Jesus and the satan proves the encounter involved a literal conversation between two personal beings; “The fact that it is “Jesus” who is in dialogue with “the devil” makes it quite clear that “the devil” is entirely distinct from Jesus and not a part of Jesus”. This argument clearly has no weight for those scholars who believe the temptation accounts are describing a dramatization of Jesus’ internal struggle or his struggle with human opponents throughout his ministry (see the response to claim one in this article), yet Farrar never even mentions this scholarship, still less addresses it. Farrar also claims that there is no precedent for “dialogues between personified figures in which one speaks and the other answers, back and forth”, and that “we certainly do not find such dialogues between a literary device and a literal person!”. See the response to claim four in this article, to understand why this argument is invalid.

Claim 7: A physical act of worship

Farrar claims that the Greek verb proskunew (‘worship’, ‘venerate’, or ‘bow down’), describes a physical act requiring a literal event; “The language in both Matthew and Luke is perfectly clear: what the devil demanded of Jesus was not merely an internal shift in allegiance but a physical act”. See the response to claim four in this article, to understand why this argument is invalid.

Claim 8: A property transaction

Farrar claims that since the temptation to give control of the kingdoms of the world involves a legal transaction, the temptation accounts must be speaking of two literal, distinct parties, and cannot be speaking of Jesus’ struggle with himself; “As in the case of the worship language, this legal background to the temptation is rendered meaningless if only one person was involved”. Again this completely misses the point of personification as a literary device. When personification is used, all the language used of the personification is necessarily the language of a distinct individual. This does not settle the issue of whether or not the satan here is a literary device. See the response to claim four in this article, to understand why this argument is invalid.

Claim 9: The devil’s pitch

Farrar claims that the satan’s offer to give Jesus power and authority makes no sense if the satan is not a personal being distinct from Jesus; “if this ‘dialogue’ is actually an internal struggle in Jesus’ mind, this is a very odd line”. Once again this is simply another unsubstantiated claim that the language here cannot be personification. See the response to claim four in this article, to understand why this argument is invalid.

Claim 10: What about the very high mountain?

Farrar acknowledges that the description of the satan taking Jesus to a mountain high enough to see all the kingdoms of the world is impossible to read literally, and resorts to describing this experience as a supernatural experience; “Jesus did see all the kingdoms of the world, but that this required a supernatural experience, such as supernaturally enhanced vision or being taken up from the mountain into the heavens”. As a point of comparison, he cites the instance of Moses being taken by God to the top of Mount Nebo to see the promised land, despite the fact that no such sight is physically visible from Nebo. Consequently, Farrar claims both the vision of Christ and the vision of Moses took place as a “visionary experience atop a literal mountain”.

Here Farrar has completely abandoned his own literalist hermeneutic. Previously he insisted repeatedly that since the temptation accounts described an event in simple literal terms, using verbs and nouns which typically refer to physical objects and literal individuals, they could not possibly be read non-literally, and since the events are described in the form of narrative (as he claims), they cannot be read otherwise. Yet in this case he completely reverses his own exegetical methodology, and reads the account as if it was depicting a literal non-supernatural physical event whilst in actual fact describing a supernatural visionary experience.

What would Farrar say if confronted with the fact that the Greek word used here for ‘mountain’ means a literal physical mountain, that the verb used for ‘see’ means literally viewing with one’s own physical eyes, that the Greek translated “all the kingdoms of the world” literally means “all the kingdoms of the world”, and that to read these terms non-literally in order to justify a specific interpretation of the temptation accounts is therefore invalid? What if Farrar was asked to provide a precedent for reading “taken up to a high mountain” as “taken up into heaven from a high mountain”? There is certainly no point taking someone to a high mountain in order to see “all the kingdoms of the world”, if you’re going to be shown “all the kingdoms of the world” in a vision which doesn’t require you to be on a high mountain, and which could show you “all the kingdoms of the world” just as easily if you were in a room with no windows. Farrar’s abandonment of his own hermeneutic demonstrates it was only a hermeneutic of convenience.

Conclusion

Farrar’s claims 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 are all contradicted by the scholarly consensus that the genre is haggagic midrash, not narrative. They are further contradicted by the scholarly interpretations of the wilderness temptation as a visionary experience, symbolic description, or dramatization of events throughout Jesus’ ministry. Claims 2-3 show no knowledge of the pre-Christian Second Temple Period terms for ‘satan’ in Greek or Hebrew. Claim 9 demonstrates lack of knowledge of relevant Tannaitic parallels, which have been identified in the relevant scholarly literature. Claim 10 undermines his claim that the account is entirely literal, which is again noted in the literature. Farrar’s article is a litany of error; it fails to read the Synoptic temptation accounts within their socio-historical context, and demonstrates a complete lack of familiarity with the relevant scholarship.

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  1. Scholars disagree on whether it should be described as a temptation or a trial; the Greek word peirazw can mean either, but this article’s case does not depend on a specific reading. []
  2. ‘Some of the church fathers were persuaded that the story in Matthew and Luke records visionary events.’, Allison C Dale, “Behind the Temptations of Jesus Q 4:1-13 and Mark 1:12-1,” in Authenticating the Activities of Jesus (ed. Bruce D. Chilton and Craig A. Evans; Brill, 2002), 204. []
  3. ‘A factual basis for this event is harder to determine, since there were no eyewitnesses. Origen early noted its physical implausibilities, and some have thought that it might have originally been a parable that was subsequently dramatized.’, Howard W. Clarke, The Gospel of Matthew and Its Readers: A Historical Introduction to the First Gospel (Indiana University Press, 2003), 41. []
  4. ‘Reply Obj. 3. Some say that all the temptations took place in the desert. Of these some say that Christ was led into the Holy City, not really, but in an imaginary vision; while others say that the Holy City itself—i.e., Jerusalem—is called a desert, because it was deserted by God. But there is no need for this explanation. For Mark says that He was tempted in the desert by the devil, but not that He was tempted in the desert only.’, Saint Thomas Aquinas and Fathers of the English Dominican Province, Summa Theologica (Complete English ed.; Logos Bible Software, 2009). []
  5. ‘But it may be that Matthew intended this final “temptation” to be wholly visionary. In the Geneva Bible (1560), the Bible of Shakespeare and the Puritans, the marginal note was emphatic: “In a vision.” This was also Calvin’s view, and he added, “In a doubtful matter like this, where ignorance does no harm, I prefer to pass no judgment, rather than to provide contentious people with something to quarrel about.”’, Howard W. Clarke, The Gospel of Matthew and Its Readers: A Historical Introduction to the First Gospel (Indiana University Press, 2003), 42. []
  6. ‘The temptation story is told as a visionary experience’, Graham H. Twelftree, “Temptation of Jesus,” in Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (ed. Joel B. Green, Scot McKnight, and I. Howard. Marshall; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1992), 822; ‘At least two features suggest that the temptations were some kind of visionary or inward, spiritual experience’, Craig L. Blomberg, “The Temptation of Jesus,” in The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ed. Geoffrey William. Bromiley; revised.; Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans, 1979-1988), 785;  ‘goes from having a close encounter with God to having a close encounter with Satan, both in the form of visions’, Ben Witherington III, On the Road with Jesus: Birth and Ministry (Abingdon Press, 2010); ‘visionary experience or sequence of experiences’, Marcus J Borg, “The Course of Jesus’ Ministry: A Person of Spirit,” in The Historical Jesus in Recent Research (ed. James D. G. Dunn and Scot. McKnight; Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2005), 206; ‘this transportation was not physical but visionary’, R. T. France, The Gospel of Matthew (Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans Pub., 2007), 131; ‘Finally, we may inquire into the nature of Jesus’ actual experience. Does the temptation story reflect a historical, observable event? Or, was it, as some scholars have maintained (Leaney, p. 115), a vision or a parabolic illustration of the devil-inspired opposition to Jesus’ ministry? It is not easy to decide, for problems attend all of these interpretations. But the one that seems the most plausible is the view that Jesus’ temptations were visionary. The context for the temptation would suggest this interpretation.’, Craig A. Evans, Luke (Understanding the Bible Commentary Series; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1990), 68. []
  7. ‘some scholars take the account as a symbol of the struggle with Satan and the forces of evil which is characteristic of Jesus’ entire ministry’, Collins, “Temptation of Christ,” in The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (ed. David Freedman; The Anchor Bible Reference Library; Yale University Press, 1992), 382; ‘[Fitzmyer] wonders whether ‘Jesus recounted some form of these stories as figurative, parabolic resumes of the seduction latent in the diabolic opposition to him and his ministry’’, James D. G. Dunn, Jesus Remembered (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2003), 380; ‘The ‘wilderness’ is generally taken to be symbolic rather than ‘real’’, Ernest Best, The Temptation and the Passion: The Markan Soteriology (Cambridge University Press, 2005), xvii; ‘So Meier (1994: 272) notes that a withdrawal into the wilderness is not impossible, but that the story could be ‘symbolic representation of the apocalyptic struggle between God and the devil which was prophesied for the last days’: this note is his only reference in 3 volumes’, Judith M. Lieu, “Reading Jesus In the Wilderness,” in Wilderness: Essays in Honour of Frances Young (ed. Frances Margaret Young and R. S. Sugirtharajah; A&C Black, 2005), 93. []
  8. ‘An impression made by Jesus, perhaps through his whole mission, is dramatically represented in this story form’, James D. G. Dunn, Jesus Remembered (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2003), 381; ‘Crossan does not refer to them in his narrative, while in his analysis of the strata of the tradition and its attestation he does identify the temptation narratives as ‘a dramatic historicization of something that took place over a much longer period’ (1991:440).’, Judith M. Lieu, “Reading Jesus In the Wilderness,” in Wilderness: Essays in Honour of Frances Young (ed. Frances Margaret Young and R. S. Sugirtharajah; A&C Black, 2005), 93; ‘Jesus certainly took for granted the reality of Satan and spoke about him, sometimes in a poetic manner (10:18). It is, therefore, possible that he described his inward experience of temptation in dramatic form, as here.’, I. Howard Marshall, The Gospel of Luke: a Commentary on the Greek Text (New International Greek Testament Commentary; Exeter: Paternoster Press, 1978), 168. []
  9. ‘According to E.P. Sanders, “It is reasonable to think that Jesus really did fast and pray before beginning his active ministry and that he was subject to temptation. The safest conclusion is that the synoptic gospels, especially Matthew and Luke, are ‘mythological’ elaborations based on fact.”, Allison C Dale, “Behind the Temptations of Jesus Q 4:1-13 and Mark 1:12-1,” in Authenticating the Activities of Jesus (ed. Bruce D. Chilton and Craig A. Evans; Brill, 2002), 204; ‘Given the highly symbolic features of the story, we should be careful both to attend to its symbolic significance and to be cautious about taking it as a strictly historical account.’, Thomas R. Yoder Neufeld, Recovering Jesus: The Witness of the New Testament (Brazos Press, 2007), 203; ‘the temptations are to be regarded as subjective experiences of Jesus rather than involving the literal transportation of Jesus to other places’, Donald Alfred. Hagner, Matthew. 1-13 1-13 (vol. 33A; Word Biblical Commentary; Dallas, Tex.: Word Books, 1998), 63; ‘This passage is not to be reckoned a historical narrative in the strict sense. Its intent is not to convey objective, biographical data’, Douglas R. A. Hare, Matthew (Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching & Preaching; Westminster John Knox Press, 2009), 22; ‘We have found it useful to treat the Temptation Story as a mythological narrative.’, C. Michael Robbins, The Testing of Jesus in Q (Peter Lang, 2007), 158. []
  10. ‘Stemberger comments: Midrash-like texts have also been identified in the New Testament; the term ‘midrash’ has been used especially for the infancy gospels and for the story of Jesus’ temptation’, Joshua L. Moss, Midrash and Legend: Historical Anecdotes in the Tannaitic Midrashim (Gorgias Press LLC, 2004). 8; ‘Its intent is not to convey objective, biographical data. This we understand by comparing it with similar rabbinic stories. It constitutes a piece of haggadic midrash, that is, it is a fanciful story whose purpose is to interpret Scripture.’, Douglas R. A. Hare, Matthew (Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching & Preaching; Westminster John Knox Press, 2009), 22; ‘That the scenes comprising the temptation Narrative in Q resemble a scribal haggadic midrash* does not in itself tell against their historicity, but that a Palestinian origin for them is likely, even though the OT quotations from the LXX show the tradition has passed through the hands of a Greek-speaking community (see Tradition Criticism).’, Graham H. Twelftree, “Temptation of Jesus,” in Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (ed. Joel B. Green, Scot. McKnight, and I. Howard. Marshall; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1992). 822. []
  11. ‘And in the Jewish tradition, the elliptical, ambiguous, and controversial narratives of the Torah were interpreted by further narratives, especially by the Haggadic Midrash, which sought to explain their meaning by recounting them yet again.’, Glenn W. Most and Glenn W. Most, Doubting Thomas (Harvard University Press, 2009), 83. []
  12. The century-old exegetical debate, whether to read at Matt. 6:13b a neuter abstract noun, ‘evil’, or a masculine noun ‘the Evil One’ (Satan), is still reflected in modern exegesis and translation (e.g. rsv ‘from evil’, mg. ‘the evil one’, neb ‘from the evil one’, mg. ‘from evil’); and exegetes and translators now, as in the patristic period, are just about as evenly divided as these two modern versions.’, Matthew Black, “The Doxology to the Pater Noster with a Note on Matthew 6:13b,” in A Tribute to Geza Vermes: Essays on Jewish and Christian Literature and History (ed. Richard T. Davies, Philip R. White; vol. 100; Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1990), 333. []
  13. ‘Being a transliteration from the Hebrew or Aramaic and almost lacking in the LXX, the Greek form of the name “Satan” is rarely used in Jewish literature of the Second Temple Period (cf. T. 12 Patr., T. Job and Life of Adam and Eve 17:1).’, C. Breytenbach (I, IV) and (I–III) Day P. L., “Satan,” ed. Karel van der Toorn, Bob Becking, and Pieter W. van der Horst, Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible (Leiden; Boston; Köln; Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge: Brill; Eerdmans, 1999), 731; ‘Actually, however, the majority of these deuterocanonical texts refer to other demons by name, but seldom use the name śāṭān.’, Victor P. Hamilton, “Satan,” ed. David Noel Freedman, The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (New York: Doubleday, 1992), 987. []
  14. ‘”Satan” occurs only occasionally in this literature: Jub 10:11; 23:29; 50:5; MartIs [Martyrdom and Ascension of Isaiah] 2:2; 1 Enoch 41:9; 53;1ff; 54:1ff. As was evident in the passages from Jubilees and MartIs cited just above, Satan was one of the titles, but not the preferred name, for the leader of the evil angels. It seems to have been more a role description than a proper name in this period, as is also seen in the following passages from Jubilees.’, Gregory Charles Jenks, The Origins and Early Development of the Antichrist Myth (Walter de Gruyter, 1991), 134. []
  15. ‘On the other hand, it should be observed that Satan was not the self-evident name of the leader of demons in early Jewish writings. For example, in 1 En. 1-36 the leader of the fallen angels is called Shemihazah (1 En. 6-7) or ‘Asa‘el (1 En. 8). Other significant names appear in the Book of Jubilees: Mastemah (from the Hebrew root śātām which is a biform of śātān), in Qumran writings: Mastemah and Belial (in Greek: Beliar), and in rabbinical writings: Sama‘el. Thus we lack an established tradition whereby the name of the personal Evil or the leader of demons is Satan.’, Antti Laato, “The Devil In The Old Testament,” in Evil and the Devil (ed. Erkki Koskenniemi and Ida Fröhlich; Library of New Testament Studies; A&amp;C Black, 2013), 4. []
  16. ‘Second, the confrontation with Satan could be seen as Jesus’ struggle with himself and overcoming the yezer hara, the evil inclination, part of all men, and which is externalized in the literature by the figure of Satan.’, Samuel Tobias Lachs, A Rabbinic Commentary on the New Testament: The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke (KTAV Publishing House, Inc., 1987), 50; ‘Jesus himself was most likely the source of his trials in the wilderness, translated into figurative language.’, Veselin Kesich, Formation and Struggles: The Church, A.D. 33-450 (St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2007), 12. []
  17. ‘Some scholars have suggested that the various “temptations” may be issues with which Jesus dealt with [sic] throughout his public life (desire for physical pleasure, celebrity, and power), and that the biblical accounts represent an imaginative portrayal or dramatization of his longstanding and recurrent experiences.’, S. J. J. Harrington, Historical Dictionary of Jesus (Scarecrow Press, 2010), 158; ‘Some commentators have remarked that aside from the temptations in the wilderness the opposition that Christ meets with in his public life is due to the direct activity of human adversaries, even though these people are often linked to the devil in some way. And it has been suggested that since the temptation in the desert was not a witnessed event, as the gospel episodes purport to be, the accounts of Matthew and Luke are a dramatic theological expansion of events recorded elsewhere in the gospels, especially three closely related episodes in John (Jn. 6-7). We read there that Jesus fled an offered kingship, that on the next day he rebuked the people’s implicit desire for more bread, and that his relatives urged him to go to Judea for the feast of tabernacles to manifest his works. This hypothesis of the non-historical or meta-historical, character of the temptation in the desert is further strengthened by the presence of formal elements and literary conventions in the account, some of which we have just seen.’, H. A. Kelly, The Devil, Demonology, and Witchcraft: Christian Beliefs in Evil Spirits (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2004), 16. []
  18. K Wengst, “The Devil in the Revelation of St John,” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament. Supplement Series., no. 366 (2003): 68–75;  H. A. Kelly, The Devil, Demonology, and Witchcraft: Christian Beliefs in Evil Spirits (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2004). []
  19. Torsten Löfstedt, “Paul, Sin and Satan: The Root of Evil according to Romans,” Svensk Exegetisk \AArsbok 75 (2010): 122. []
  20. ‘On the basis of Day’s monograph and the dozens of studies which have taken her study as their point of departure, we can note a few general agreements on the study of Satan within the OT as a whole: (1) the main passages which were later read as referring to the Satan (Num. 22.22-35; Job 1–2; Zech. 3.1-7; 1 Chron. 21.1–22.1) probably did not originally refer to this figure; (2) there is therefore, from the perspective of historical analysis, no single Satan figure of the OT; and (3) each author who refers to a ‘Satan’ figure does so for their own reasons and to fit their particular literary context and/or theological concerns.’, D. R. Brown, “The Devil in the Details: A Survey of Research on Satan in Biblical Studies,” Currents in Biblical Research 9, no. 2 (2011): 204-205. []

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