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Apocryphal Literature, the Characterization of Satan, and the Descensus ad Inferos Tradition in England in the Middle Ages

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This article discusses the role of apocrypha, specifically, the Gospel of Nicodemus in transmitting theological concepts that are not developed in Scripture and considers how such texts were transmitted across the centuries. In particular, this article examines the contribution of the Gospel of Nicodemus and other apocryphal sources to the characterization of Satan, as developed in the descensus ad inferos tradition in England throughout the Middle Ages and also considers how authors’ varying intents, the needs of audiences, and modes of presentation may have impacted the manner in which characters were portrayed and the event was structured.

Affiliations: 1: University of Colorado at Denver


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