Talk:The Satanic Bible

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Good articleThe Satanic Bible has been listed as one of the Philosophy and religion good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Article milestones
January 17, 2012Good article nomineeListed
February 23, 2012Featured article candidateNot promoted
Current status: Good article

Pre-GAC review suggestions[edit]

Ah, this looks fun! From a first glance, I note there seems to be little information on publication, other than what is stated in the lead. Per WP:LEAD, this information (when it was published, by whom, how many printings, how well it sold, etc.) needs to also be present in the body of the article. I would suggest adding a new section to address the publication history so as to ensure broad coverage of the subject, which is one of the criteria for Good Article. María (yllosubmarine) 14:11, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

I have added a subsection under history addressing this, and have expanded it a little with new research. Thank you for the suggestion! GorillaWarfare (talk) 23:19, 12 January 2012 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:The Satanic Bible/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: TonyTheTiger (talk · contribs) 05:30, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

I'll give this one a whirl and see what I can learn.--TonyTheTiger (T/C/BIO/WP:CHICAGO/WP:FOUR) 05:30, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
Why are some of the citations missing page numbers?--TonyTheTiger (T/C/BIO/WP:CHICAGO/WP:FOUR) 09:52, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
The Schreck citations are to a website that lacks page numbers. The LaVey citations that are missing page numbers are from previous editions of the Satanic Bible to which I do not have access. I have a PDF file that contains all of the introductions to the various editions, but the page numbers do not correspond to those in the original versions. GorillaWarfare (talk) 20:31, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
This is not a big issue in the current version. Just a few refs are at issue. If this goes to WP:FAC, you will have to track everything down. I won't hold it up over this although it is not really resolved.--TonyTheTiger (T/C/BIO/WP:CHICAGO/WP:FOUR) 06:56, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
Understood. I'll see what I can do about it, and will keep that in mind if I try to get it to be a featured article. GorillaWarfare (talk) 16:10, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

The article has a choppy organization. The two- and three-line sections should be expanded or merged.--TonyTheTiger (T/C/BIO/WP:CHICAGO/WP:FOUR) 14:02, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

You have expanded some sections. It would still help if the Preface, The Book of Satan and The Book of Leviathan were expanded.--TonyTheTiger (T/C/BIO/WP:CHICAGO/WP:FOUR) 07:00, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
I'll see what I can do :] I've found a good number of new sources which I'm trying to work in. I'm also expanding the Reception section to make it a bit more balanced; I hadn't realized how slanted it was towards negative reactions before. This may take me a few days, as I'm working on this around schoolwork as well. GorillaWarfare (talk) 16:10, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
Let me know when you are done.--TonyTheTiger (T/C/BIO/WP:CHICAGO/WP:FOUR) 05:45, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
Alright, I think I'm done! GorillaWarfare (talk) 02:59, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
The WP:LEAD now checks in at 3452 characters of readable prose. For an article this length it should probably be about 2500 and anything longer than 3000 is excessive. Please cut the LEAD down to less than 3000 characters. Everything else looks good.--TonyTheTiger (T/C/BIO/WP:CHICAGO/WP:FOUR) 04:05, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
Ah, okay. I have done so. GorillaWarfare (talk) 15:43, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
  • This article is very new territory for me. The precise meaning of certain terms in this context might be useful. Can you link rituals, philosophy, sacred scripture (or at least scripture), God, and projection.--TonyTheTiger (T/C/BIO/WP:CHICAGO/WP:FOUR) 13:55, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
    I have linked to all of these words (as well as atheistic) except for projection. The only article we have on projection in the psychological sense is psychological projection, which is talking about something somewhat different. Do you think there is a better article? I'll keep looking. GorillaWarfare (talk) 20:31, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
  • The LEAD is a bit thin. You might be able to craft a second paragraph if you make sure a summary of each section is included in the LEAD.--TonyTheTiger (T/C/BIO/WP:CHICAGO/WP:FOUR) 14:00, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Why is this the first time you mention religion? Does it mean something counter-intuitive in this context? Link please.--TonyTheTiger (T/C/BIO/WP:CHICAGO/WP:FOUR) 14:17, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
    I have reworded a bit to add "religion" to the lead as well. I guess I did not think to include it, as I mentioned that it was the text of LaVeyan Satanism. GorillaWarfare (talk) 20:46, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
  • "articles he had previously published in a Church of Satan newsletter called The Cloven Hoof" - where the articles or the newsletter called by this name? If it is the latter revise to "articles he had previously published in The Cloven Hoof, a Church of Satan newsletter."--TonyTheTiger (T/C/BIO/WP:CHICAGO/WP:FOUR) 14:17, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
    Fixed. GorillaWarfare (talk) 20:51, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Do not WP:OVERLINK. If a name is linked once, then the subsequent uses should generally be delinked and only refer to the last name unless it is ambiguous.--TonyTheTiger (T/C/BIO/WP:CHICAGO/WP:FOUR) 22:33, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
    I used AWB to find the multiple wikilinks and remove them. I understand about referring to the last name only, but I felt that that was a little awkward in this section where most were called by their full names. If you disagree, I'm happy to change it. GorillaWarfare (talk) 21:13, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
    I think even in this case last name only is preferable for second references to subjects.--TonyTheTiger (T/C/BIO/WP:CHICAGO/WP:FOUR) 06:37, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
    Alright, I believe that's all of the repeats. Just a note: as I expand sections, I may accidentally link things twice. I'll be sure to go through with AWB periodically to remove double links. GorillaWarfare (talk) 16:19, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
The Book of Lucifer

Book of Belial sources[edit]

The article states that the Book of Belial was adapted from sources such as "Magick: elementary theory". The reference for this is the J. Gunn article that states that the "how-to" part of the Satanic Bible is "a simple rehash of the directives of ritual magicians found in books like Aleister Crowley’s Magick: Elementary Theory". However, anyone who has read the Crowley reference will appreciate that it is not a "how-to" book of rituals at all, but rather a series of essays on the esoteric symbolism of the accoutrements of ritual. Therefore, it seems highly unlikely that the rituals in the Book of Belial actually were adapted from this source as the content and scope of each are quite dissimilar.--Smcg8374 (talk) 13:09, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

I have not read Magick: Elementary Theory, so I can't say one way or another if they are similar or not. However, even if I had read the book, my own opinion on the matter would be original research. As for your concern regarding the Gunn quote, I'm not sure if you're questioning the reliability of the Gunn article or my application of it to the Book of Belial section. I'll address both possibilities. As for my usage of this sentence in the section on the Book of Belial: You quoted only a part of J. Gunn's sentence from which I pulled this information. The full sentence reads, "In a how-to manner, one part presents a number of rituals to be performed by the Satanist and details the sorts of materials he or she should acquire, a simple rehash of the directives of ritual magicians found in books like Aleister Crowley’s Magick: Elementary Theory (1997: 47–116)." I think it's fair to infer that Gunn is speaking of The Book of Belial, as that is the book in The Satanic Bible that contains the rituals. If you're contesting the reliability of the Gunn article, I'd like to disagree. Gunn is a professor who has studied occultism and Satanism deeply. The article is published in Visual Communication, a peer-reviewed communications journal published by SAGE Publications. GorillaWarfare (talk) 20:17, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Also, I removed your {{contradiction}} tag. I left an explanation in the edit summary, but in case you do not notice it or want more explanation: the first sentence ("It describes that the concept of "God" is different to each LaVeyan Satanist, but that to all it represents a good and steadying force in his or her life.") is discussing the concept of God as a force, not a being. The second ("Believers have been called "atheistic Satanists" because of this lack of belief in external gods, but others identify as antitheistic.") is discussing the belief in a specific God. The difference here is essentially the difference between spirituality and religion. The whole paragraph is trying to explain that LaVeyan Satanists don't believe in a being called "God" or "Satan" (contrary to popular belief), but rather believe in a metaphorical Satan that is actually a force in nature. GorillaWarfare (talk) 20:31, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Hi GorillaWarfare. I acknowledge J. Gunn's qualifications and the reliability of the source. I made an objection to Gunn's claims on the common sense grounds that the contents of Crowley's book do not concern the practical 'how-to' aspects of ritual covered in LaVey's book and therefore, in spite of Gunn's apparent expertise in the matter, his statement hardly seem true. A 'simple rehash' would surely imply substantial similarity between the two books when they are qualitatively different. Unfortunately, I do not have any references at hand that adequately summarise the contents of Magick: Elementary Theory, although I'm sure they exist in print somewhere. Furthermore, the 'how-to' part of The Satanic Bible includes the Book of Leviathan as well as that of Belial. Perhaps, the article sentence in question could be amended to include an attribution, until other references can be found, e.g. "According to J. Gunn..." Just a suggestion, it's not a really a big deal to me. --Smcg8374 (talk) 05:24, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
  • You stated that to LaVeyan Satanists "God" represents a good and steadying force in his or her life. In the Satanic Bible chapter Wanted! God dead or alive, LaVey stated: "To the Satanist 'God' - by whatever name he is called, or by no name at all - is seen as the balancing force in nature, and as not being concerned with suffering. This powerful force which permeates and balances the universe is far too impersonal to care about the happiness or misery of flesh-and-blood creatures..." Nowhere does LaVey state that God is good or that this impersonal force has a steadying influence on anyone's life. If the paragraph is trying to explain that Satanists believe in a metaphorical "Satan" why attribute this force to "God"? This seems to imply that LaVey regarded "God" and "Satan" as interchangeable metaphors but the text does not seem to support this interpretation. Hence I think this paragraph needs to be reworded for greater clarity --Smcg8374 (talk) 05:24, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
  • I've reworded to try to convey this point. You're right; it was a bit ambiguous. Do you think this is clear enough? GorillaWarfare (talk) 17:57, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
  • I'm still unsure about this statement. Can you provide a page number in the Satanic Bible that would support the notion that the metaphor of Satan is used synonymously with God? Sorry if I seem pedantic. --Smcg8374 (talk) 04:16, 2 February 2012 (UTC)


If man insists on externalizing his true self in the form of "God," then why fear his true self, in fearing "God,"–why praise his true self in praising "God,"–why remain externalized from "God" in order to engage in ritual and religious ceremony in his name? Man needs ritual and dogma, but no law states than an externalized god is necessary in order to engage in ritual and ceremony performed in god's name! Could it be that when he closes the gap between himself and his "God" he sees the demon of pride creeping forth–that very embodiment of Lucifer appearing in his midst? He can no longer view himself in two parts, the carnal and the spiritual, but sees them merge as one, and then to his abysmal horror, discovers that they are only the carnal–and always were! Then he either hates himself to death, day by day–or rejoices that he is what he is!...When all religious faith in lies has waned, it is because man has become closer to himself and farther from "God"; closer to the "Devil." If this is what the devil represents, and a man lives his life in the devil's fane, with the sinews of Satan moving his flesh, then he either escapes from the cacklings and carpings of the righteous, or stands proudly in his secret places of the earth and manipulates the folly-ridden masses through his own Satanic might, until that day when he may come forth in splendor proclaiming "I am a Satanist! Bow down, for I am the highest embodiment of human life!"

The Satanic Bible, 44–45

GorillaWarfare (talk) 00:32, 3 February 2012 (UTC)

OK thanks for adding that passage. I think you've made a reasonable interpretation based on the text. I guess I find the way LaVey writes to be a bit convoluted, which is probably why I was uncertain, but anyway go ahead with the FA nomination. --Smcg8374 (talk) 10:55, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

Reevaluations in light of new article by Gallagher[edit]

Some substantial revisions of the article may be warranted based on new scholarship by Eugene V. Gallagher.

His article, "Sources, Sects, and Scripture: The Book of Satan in The Satanic Bible" appears as Chapter 5 in the 2013 book, The Devil's Party: Satanism in Modernity edited by Per Faxneld and Jesper Aa. Petersen and published by Oxford University Press.

Gallagher's article presents the highly compelling results of his detailed textual analysis of "The Book of Satan" in which he convincingly demonstrates that LaVey cannot simplistically be accused of "plagiarism" in that he very carefully selected, edited and re-arranged passages from within Redbeard's Might is Right and added his own words and phrases to communicate his own highly unique message. In so doing, LaVey was engaging in a practice identified by Bart Ehrman's "redaction analysis" as a commonplace method of creating scripture in the past. Gallagher writes, "In assembling his Bible, inadvertently or not, LaVey employed a mode of composition used for more than two thousand five hundred years in the West to produce texts that have come to be regarded as scripture. Gallagher goes on to make some convincing arguments which reveal the biases of both Aquino and Matthews writings and analysis of the Satanic Bible.

Specifically, the article's section on the Book of Satan should more accurately reflect the careful and deliberate editorial selection, modification, rearrangement and supplementation LaVey did with Redbeard's original phrases to create the Book of Satan. Additionally, in view of Gallagher's more neutral and detailed analysis, it is pretty clear that the word "plagiarized" should probably be replaced with "borrowed heavily" or some such more neutral characterization. Finally, it is clear that Lewis' characterization of The Satanic Bible as "quasi" scripture is incomplete and somewhat perjorative in view of the scholarship by Gallagher (using Ehrman's work) showing that it has indeed attained scriptural status within an identifiable group. I have made that change already. — Preceding unsigned comment added by RMerciless (talkcontribs) 19:26, 6 April 2013 (UTC)

I've refactored your edit regarding LaVey's modifications to the content he took from Might is Right. Saying that he "carefully selected, rearranged and supplemented them ... to convey LaVey's unique message" is quite biased in favor of LaVey; other people would take a much different opinion. Both sides of the argument would agree that he "edited" the original texts, and that's the wording I've used here. I've left your edit where you replace "plagiarized" with "borrowed heavily," though I'm a bit on the fence about whether or not it's just a euphemism. I don't agree that "plagiarized" is non-neutral. GorillaWarfare (talk) 02:18, 19 April 2013 (UTC)

About second re-edition[edit]

Has someone still got the first edition of the Satanic Bible? I would like to know what texts has been changed in the second edition of the Satanic Bible? In this way, I think the book is not anymore the original book written by Anton Szandor LaVey. Why? Thank you for your interest! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:17, 31 October 2013 (UTC)

This is perhaps a late response... but from my research in both first and second editions it looks like in the second edition there are mainly just introductory changes, a few typos corrected and some formatting changes in the second edition; the language and context of the actual "books" is otherwise identical. It is common for publishers to make small changes like these. (talk) 04:02, 8 March 2015 (UTC)

That's been my experience with the various versions as well; the changes seem to largely be to the introduction, though I've only encountered a few versions. GorillaWarfare (talk) 09:03, 9 March 2015 (UTC)


I've removed the addition of "Zondervan (HarperCollins)" to the infobox. The edit summary in the addition says "I did some research and found that the publisher listed was incorrect," but the copy I have sitting in front of me names Avon Books as the publisher (as do other sources in a quick Google search: [4], [5]). A Google search for "Zondervan Satanic Bible" seems to only return alarmist blogs claiming that such a Christian publisher is also publishing The Satanic Bible, but I'm not seeing any reliable sources to back that up. I wonder if the alarm is just because both Avon and Zondervan are owned by HarperCollins? Anyhow, please find and include a reliable source before re-adding. GorillaWarfare (talk) 19:33, 20 September 2015 (UTC)

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