Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Lure of the Dark Side - Correction

Correction: The author if the review mentioned below brought to my attention that I confused two books on similar subject matters, both involving contributions by Christopher Partridge. The one I posted on is a multi-contributor volume, and the one reviewed with the excerpt below is from a short volume by Partridge alone titled Understanding the Dark Side (Chester Academic Press, 2006). I have read Partridge's paper that makes up the latter book, but not having seen The Lure of the Dark Side I can only guess that perhaps it, or at least much of what it proposes, overlaps with the shorter volume. At any rate, they make for an interesting study on Westenr demonology, the new religions, and popular culture. My thanks to the Sub Ratione Dei blog for bringing my error to my attention for clarification among readers.
One of the more interesting aspects of studies in new religious movements is the influence of Christian views of demonology on the topic. This can manifest itself in a variety of ways, from a major interpretive lens through which the new religions are construed by many evangelicals as manifestations of the satanic, to the the incorporation of streams of Christian demonology within the beliefs of the new religions themselves.

Christopher Partridge and Eric Christianson have edited a volume that explores the influences of Christian demonology on the new religions and popular culture in the book The Lure of the Dark Side: Western Demonology, Satanic Panics and Alien Abduction (Equinox Publishing, 2008). The book was recently reviewed here with an excerpt from this review below:
"Although the subtitle promises to be a survey of western demonology, Satanic panics, and alien abduction Partridge’s survey is more a deconstruction of UFO religion and the eclecticism of its sources. The extra-terrestrial religious ideas may have had their origin in theosophical strains of Eastern thought but the religion of groups such as Heaven’s Gate is in fact more rooted in western demonology, specifically the adaptation in popular culture of the idea of the nephilim (Gen 6: 1-4). In the space of a short lecture Partridge has done a good job at delineating the dialectic between theory and popular culture and so, from the perspective of those interested in alternative and fringe religions the author has done a good job in charting the field. However, for those like my self who do not spend much time thinking about the theology of the Raelians a more interesting phenomenon - why as the stranglehold of ‘Christian’ understandings of the world been dissipated have these religions relied on parodies of Christian demonologies. In understand that popular culture is tapping into a latent understanding in invoking such ideas from Christian sources - however, the fact that the UFO religions have followed suit strikes me as a far more interesting question both theologically and sociologically."


Steve Hayes said...

Hmm, so we both blogged on the same review... isn't that a coincidence. Could it be a sinister one? A conspiracy, perhaps. A dark conspiracy!

John W. Morehead said...

No conspiracy. I saw you reference this on the Nurel list, a book I've blogged on previously, and thought I'd do a brief post on it. A nod to you as the inspiration!

Richard said...

Thanks for the link. In actual fact it wasn't 'The Lure of the Dark Side' that I reviewed but 'Understanding the Dark Side' by Partridge alone. They are both obviously related but I don't know in what way i.e, whether one was derivative on the other. One was published in 2006 by Chester UP (the one I reviewed) while the other (the one you have an image of, which IMO is a pretty cool cover) was published in 2008 by Equinox, which seems to me a new publisher with an interesting list of titles.

In the interests of disclosure i should have added that Chris Partridge was my tutor while I was at Chester.

John W. Morehead said...

Richard, thanks for pointing out my error and enabling my correction to this post.

Steve Hayes said...

What has happened to Theofantastique?

John W. Morehead said...

TheoFantastique is alive and well and thriving at its own site that has been given a facelift and expanded. It can be found at