DELOMELANICON

“The art of locking devils inside bottles or books is very ancient… Gervase of Tilbury and Gerson both mentioned it in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.  As for pacts with the Devil, the tradition goes back even further: from the book of Enoch to St Jeronimus, through the Cabbala and the Fathers of the Church.  Not forgetting Bishop Theophilus, who was actually a ‘lover of knowledge’, the historical Faust and Roger Bacon… Or Pope Sylvester II, of whom it was said that he robbed the Saracens of a book which ‘contained all one needs to know’.”

“So it was a question of obtaining knowledge.”

“Of course.  Nobody would take so much trouble, wandering to the very edge of the abyss just to pass the time.  Scholarly demonology identifies Lucifer with knowledge.  In Genisis, the Devil in the form of a serpent succeeds in getting man to stop being a stupid simpleton and gain awareness, free will, lucidity, knowledge, with all the pain and uncertainty that they entail.”

Arturo Pérez-Reverte, The Club Dumas.

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