Our first speaker and topic profile for this summer’s inaugural Naked Bible Conference focused on Dr. Bill Arnold. Our second speaker and topic profile takes a look at Dr. Archie Wright.
Dr. Wright will be familiar to some who follow the podcast and follow me on Twitter, along with folks who read footnotes in The Unseen Realm. I used Dr. Wright’s seminal study on the origin of demons in Second Temple Jewish literature and have given copies away on two occasions. Anyone interested in the topic should have it:
The Origin of Evil Spirits: The Reception of Genesis 6:1-4 in Early Jewish Literature, Revised Edition
Dr. Wright’s topic for the Naked Bible Conference is “The Reception of the Satan Tradition in Second Temple Judaism and the Gospels.” It’s well known to my readers that the Old Testament does not know a “capital-S” Satan. The Hebrew term śaṭan is not used as a proper personal name in the Old Testament as that term is prefixed with the definite article (the particle in Hebrew meaning “the”). Like English, Hebrew does not tolerate a definite article before proper personal names (I’m not “the Mike” — I’m just Mike). Consequently, the śaṭan in Job 1-2 isn’t the New Testament devil. He’s a supernatural being with a specific role to play in the divine council (and of course in Job’s circumstances). The same is true in Zechariah 3 and 1 Chronicles 20. All that said, there is a cosmic arch-enemy of God in the Old Testament (the serpent figure) along with other divine rebels. Dr. Wright’s topic will focus on how the term śaṭan came to be used of the original divine rebel and how that figure evolved into the leader of all evil spirits in the Second Temple period on into the New Testament. If you’ve ever wondered about how all that came about, this is the perfect time to hear from a scholar whose academic focus has been on such matters.