"The Hermeneutics of Hell: Devilish Visions and Visions of the Devil in World Literature" (07/01/14; 11/7-11/8/14, Wenham, MA)

full name / name of organization: 
Gregor Thuswaldner and Dan Rus, Gordon College
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2014 Northeast Regional Conference of Christianity and Literature

"The Hermeneutics of Hell: Devilish Visions and Visions of the Devil in World Literature"

November 7-8, 2014

Gordon College, Wenham, MA

"There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors, and hail a materialist or magician with the same delight." C. S. Lewis. The Screwtape Letters

For centuries, the biblical account of Satan has inspired countless authors worldwide. Medieval texts dealing with devils often combined biblical and pagan imageries. But it wasn't until the early Baroque era when the devil in world literature became more individualistic. Since then, authors from around the world have been drawn to the devil as a literary figure. Often times, the devils created by Milton, Goethe, Chateaubriand, Byron, Lermontov, Strindberg, C.S. Lewis, Mahfouz and many others differ significantly from biblical texts and the literal interpretation of the Satan in the Old Testament. Even though the topic of hell seems to have lost its appeal on pulpits, it is still alive and well in literature.

This conference aims to analyze devilish visions and visions of the devil and the different roles devils have assumed in world literature. What makes devils attractive literary figures? What are the functions of the devils? What are the underlying theologies? How do the literary devils differ from biblical images? Why are we as readers still fascinated by literary manifestations of the devil?

Possible topics may include:
• The devil as tempter
• The devil as accuser
• The devil as satirist
• The devil as cultural critic
• The devil as God's counterpart
• The devil as revolutionist
• The devil as a tragic figure
• The devil and damnation
• The devil and salvation
• The devil in passion plays
• Sympathy for the devil
• The future of devils
• Hell on earth
• Visions of hell
• Eternal damnation vs. extinction

Email your 250 word abstracts by July 1, 2014 to NECCL@gordon.edu Graduate students are encouraged to apply for a CCL grant. http://www.christianityandliterature.com/Travel_Grant_recipients

The conference organizers, Dan Russ and Gregor Thuswaldner (Gordon College), cannot offer contributors compensation for conference- or travel expenses. Select contributions will be considered for publication in an edited collection.

Location of the conference: Gordon College, Wenham, MA. Gordon College is located just 25 miles north of Boston on Boston's historic North Shore.