© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2011 DOI: 10.1163/156852711X562281
Numen 58 (2011) 157–187
Reading Satan, Remembering the Other
Independent scholar Copenhagenbutler@city.dk
While the main subject of the present paper is the representation of Satan as the neg-ative Other in the Qur
ān, the general objective of the paper is to show the relevance of the concept of cultural memory as a framework for inquiry into the Qur
ān and the theologies of othering that it carries. Te cultural memory embedded in the Qur
ān not only gives us an idea of how an Islamic identity was invented, established, and can be re-invented during centuries of multicultural co-existence and conict. It also reects a normative image of religious opponents, minorities, and enemies against which such an Islamic identity is continuously created. Te paper forwards a reading of the main variations of sin, notably
, which the Qur
anic Satan-narrative articulate, indicating how this Qur
anic gure provides a way of com-ing to terms with evil as a manifestation of otherness.
Satan, the Other, Assmann, Mosaic distinction, cultural memory, sin,
kufr, shirk, kibr
In recent years, cultural memory has appeared as a paradigm within a variety of scholarly disciplines ranging from psychology and sociology (studies of individual versus collective memory, the psychology of group dynamics, and trauma and conict research) to cultural history studies, literary studies (processes of oral and textual transmission, processes of canonization, intertextuality as “spaces of memory”
Te present paper is based on my Ph.D. thesis, “Myth and Memory: Satan and the Other in Islamic radition,” presented to the University of Copenhagen, 5 May 2008.