Scholarship on Religious Satanism

DISCLAIMER: The list below is an evolving source for scholarship on contemporary religious Satanism. It is merely a jumping off point for those interested in the academic approach to studying religious Satanism. Scholarship in this area can be quite broad, so I have attempted to limit the list to sources that at least engage with contemporary religious Satanism and/or a historical satanic discourse that informs academic work on contemporary religious Satanism. Some titles are included because they represent ongoing discussions and challenges within the field (i.e. questions of accurate nomenclature), others because they relate to the popular idea of Satanism in a significant way (i.e. Satanism and heavy metal; Satanism and conspiracy theories, etc.), but I have omitted titles that exclude addressing self-identified religious Satanism (i.e. Satanism as solely a Christian theological concept).

It ain’t perfect nor all-inclusive; it’s just a starter list.

Recent scholarship (~2000-present):

Dyrendal, Asbjørn. 2016. “Satanism in Norway.” In Olav Hammer & Henrik Bogdan, eds. Western Esotericism in Scandinavia. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers: 481-488.

Dyrendal, Asbjørn. 2014. “Satanism and Popular Music.” In I. C. Partridge & E. Christianson, eds. The Lure of the Dark Side. Satan and Western Demonology in Popular Culture. London: Equinox.

Dyrendal, Asbjørn. 2012. “Satan and the Beast. The Influence of Aleister Crowley on Modern Satanism.” In Henrik Bogdan & Martin P. Starr, eds. Aleister Crowley and Western Esotericism. An Anthology of Critical Studies. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 369-394.

Dyrendal, Asbjørn, James R. Lewis, and Jesper Aa. Petersen. 2016. The Invention of Satanism. Oxford University Press.

Faxneld, Per. 2016. “The Death of the Author and the Birth of the Luciferian Reader: Ur-images, Postmodernity and Semiotic Self-Apotheosis,” In Peter Forshaw, ed. Lux in Tenebris: The Visual and Symbolic in Western Esotericism. Leiden: Brill.

Faxneld, Per. 2015. “Bleed for the Devil: Ritualized Self-Harm as Transgressive Practice in Contemporary Satanism, and the Re-enchantement of Late Modernity,” Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review, Vol. 6, No. 2: 165–196.

Faxneld, Per. 2015. “Kom, Ondska, bliv mitt goda: Black metal-nyreligiositet och motdiskursens ordning” [”Evil, Be Thou My Good: Black Metal Neo-Religiosity and the Order of Counter-Discourse”], DIN: Tidsskrift for religion og kultur, Vol. 17, No. 1: 62–94.

Faxneld, Per. 2015. “Djävulen som kvinnans befriare: Om en drastisk feministisk strategi , ca 1880–1930” [“The Devil as Woman’s Emancipator: On a Drastic Feminist Strategy, ca 1880–1930”] , Tidsskrift for kjønnsforskning, Vol. 39, No. 2: 111–129.

Faxneld, Per. 2014. “Keine menschliche Macht engt ihn ein: Die Esoterisierung des avantgardistischen Kunstdiskurses im Berlin der Jahrhundertwende.” In Minna Turtiainen ed. Berlin: Die historischen Schichten in den Gemälden, exhibition catalogue. Espoo: Gallen-Kallela Museum: 70–81.

Faxneld, Per. 2014. “Internalizing the Femme Fatale? Self-dramatization and Symbolic Resistance to Religious Mores in France and Italy, ca 1870–1932.” In Anthony Patterson & Marilena Zackheos, eds. Vile Women: Challenging Representations of Female Evil in Fact, Fiction and Mythology. Amsterdam: Rodopi.

Faxneld, Per. 2014. Satanic Feminism: Lucifer as Liberator of Woman in Nineteenth-Century Culure. Stockholm: Molin & Sorgenfrei.

Faxneld, Per. 2013. “Secret Lineages and De Facto Satanists: Anton LaVey’s Use of Esoteric Tradition.” In Egil Asprem & Kennet Granholm, eds. Contemporary Esotericism. London: Equinox: 72–90.

Faxneld, Per. 2013. “Intuitive, Receptive, Dark: Negotiations of Femininity in the Contemporary Satanic and Left-Hand Path Milieu,” International Journal for the Study of New Religions, Vol. 4, No. 2.

Faxneld, Per. 2013. “’In Communication With the Powers of Darkness’: Satanism in Turn-of-the-century Denmark, and Its Use as a Legitimating Device in Present-day Esotericism.” In Henrik Bogdan & Gordan Djurdjevic, eds. Occultism in a Global Perspective. Durham: Acumen: 57–77.

Faxneld, Per. 2013. “The Devil is Red: Socialist Satanism in the Nineteenth Century,” Numen: International Review for the History of Religions, Vol. 60, No. 5.

Faxneld, Per. 2012. “Blavatsky the Satanist: Luciferianism in Theosophy, and its Feminist Implications,” Temenos: Nordic Journal of Comparative Religion, Vol. 48. No. 2.

Faxneld, Per. 2012. “Feminist Vampires and the Romantic Satanist Tradition of Counter-readings.” In Gabriela Madlo & Andrea Ruthven, eds. Woman as Angel, Woman as Evil: Interrogating Boundaries. Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press: 55–75.

Faxneld, Per. 2011. “The Strange Case of Ben Kadosh: A Luciferian Pamphlet from 1906 and its Current Renaissance,” Aries 11: 1-22.

Faxneld, Per. 2010. “Satan as the Liberator of Woman in Four Gothic Novels, 1786–1820.” In Maria Barrett, ed. Grotesque Femininities: Evil, Women and the Feminine. Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press: 27–40.

Faxneld, Per, and Jesper Aa. Petersen. 2014. “Cult of Carnality: Sexuality, Eroticism and Gender in Contemporary Satanism.” In Henrik Bogdan & James R. Lewis, eds. Sexuality and New Religious Movements. London: Palgrave Macmillan: 165–181.

Faxneld, Per, and Jesper Aagaard Petersen. 2013. The Devil’s Party: Satanism in Modernity. Oxford University Press.

  • Table of contents:
  • Introduction, Per Faxneld and Jesper Aagaard Petersen
  • Part One The Question of History
  • Chapter 1 ‘It Is Better to Believe in the Devil’
    • Mikael Häll
  • Chapter 2 Sex, Science, and Liberty
    • Ruben van Luijk
  • Chapter 3 Witches, Anarchism, and Evolutionism
    • Per Faxnel
  • Part Two The Black Pope and the Church of Satan
  • Chapter 4 Categorizing Modern Satanism
    • Amina Olander Lap
  • Chapter 5 Sources, Sects, and Scripture
    • Eugene V. Gallagher
  • Chapter 6 Hidden Persuaders and Invisible Wars
    • Asbjørn Dyrendal
  • Part Three The Legacy of Dr. LaVey
  • Chapter 7 Conversion to Satanism
    • James R. Lewis
  • Chapter 8 The Carnival of Dr. LaVey
    • Jesper Aagaard Petersen
  • Chapter 9 The Making of Satanic Collective Identities in Poland
    • Rafal Smoczynski
  • Part Four Post-Satanism, Left-Hand Paths, and Beyond
  • Chapter 10 The Left-Hand Path and Post-Satanism
    • Kennet Granholm
  • Chapter 11 Luciferian Witchcraft
    • Fredrik Gregorius
  • Chapter 12 Secret Identities in the Sinister Tradition
    • Jacob C. Senholt

Faxneld, Per, and Simon Sorgenfrei. 2015. “Om ondskans undflyende natur” [”On the Elusive Nature of Evil”], DIN: Tidsskrift for religion og kultur, Vol. 17, No. 1: 7–11.

Frankfurter, David. 2003. “The Satanic Ritual Abuse Panic as Religious-Studies Data,” Numen 50(1): 108– 117.

Granholm, Kennet. Forthcoming. “The Pentagram of Set, and the Trapezoid as Used in the Church of Satan and the Temple of Set.” In Egil Asprem & Joyce Pijnenburg, eds. Similitudes of the Sublime: Esotericism and Magic in Images. Seattle, WA: Ouroboros Press.

Granholm, Kennet. 2014. Dark Enlightenment: The Historical, Sociological, and Discursive Contexts of Contemporary Esoteric Magic. Leiden: Brill.

Granholm, Kennet. 2014. “Satanism – Theological Exchanges, Current Issues.” In Terry C. Muck, Harold A. Netland & Gerald R. McDermott, eds. Handbook of Religion: 583-587. Ada, MI: Baker Academic Books.

Granholm, Kennet. 2012. “Dragon Rouge: Left-Hand Path Magic with a Neopagan Flavour,” Aries 12/1 [Special issue on modern magic]: 131-156. DOI: 10.1163/147783512X614858

Granholm, Kennet. 2009. “‘Worshiping the Devil in the Name of God’ Anti-Semitism, Theosophy and Christianity in the Occult Doctrines of Pekka Siitoin,” Journal for Academic Study of Magic, no. 5 (April): 256–86.

Granholm, Kennet. 2008. “Temple of Set.” In Kennet Granholm, ed. Perspektiv på esoterisk nyandlighet: 79-93. Åbo: Uniprint.

Granholm, Kennet. 2008. “Dragon Rouge.” In Kennet Granholm, ed. Perspektiv på esoterisk nyandlighet: 107-123. Åbo: Uniprint.

Granholm, Kennet. 2005. Embracing the Dark: The Magic Order of Dragon Rouge – Its Practice in Dark Magic and Meaning Making. Published PhD-thesis in Comparative Religion. Åbo: Åbo Akademi, 2005.

Hamplová, Dana, and Zdeněk R. Nešpor. 2009. “Invisible Religion in a “Non-believing” Country: The Case of the Czech Republic,” Social Compass (December) 56: 581-597, doi:10.1177/0037768609345975.

Hjelm, Titus, ed. 2009. “Special Issue on Satanism: Introduction,” Social Compass (December) 56: 499-502, doi:10.1177/0037768609345991.

Hjelm, Titus, Henrik Bogdan, Asbjørn Dyrendal, and Jesper Aagaard Petersen. “Nordic Satanism and Satanism Scares: The Dark Side of the Secular Welfare State,” Social Compass (December) 56: 515-529, doi:10.1177/0037768609345972.

Holt, Cimminnee. 2013. “Blood, Sweat, and Urine: The Scent of Feminine Fluids in Anton LaVey’s The Satanic Witch,” International Journal for the Study of New Religions, 4.2: 177-199.

Holt, Cimminnee. 2012. “Satanists and Scholars: A Historiographic Overview and Critique of Scholarship on Religious Satanism,” Master’s Thesis, Supervised by Donald L. Boisvert. Dept. of Religion, Concordia University.

Holt, Cimminnee. 2011. “Death and Dying in the Satanic Worldview,” Journal of Religion and Culture, 22.1: 33-53.

Holt, Cimminnee, and Jesper Aagaard Petersen. 2016. “Modern Religious Satanism: A Negotiation of Tensions.” In James R. Lewis and Inga Bårdsen Tøllefsen, eds. Oxford Handbook on New Religious Movements, Vol. II. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Introvigne, Massimo. 2016. Satanism: A Social History. Brill.

Introvigne, Massimo. 2009. “Le satanisme moderne et contemporain en Italie,” Social Compass, 56.4 : 541-551.

Introvigne, Massimo. 2006. “Satanism.” In Wouter J. Hanegraaff, ed. Dictionary of Gnosis & Western Esotericism. Brill: 1035-1037.

Keane, Lloyd. 2009. “Set as Dark Self: An Analytical Psychological Interpretation of the Figure of Set as Found in the Public Documents of the Temple of Set.” Paper presented at the “Satanism in the Modern World” conference in Trondheim, Norway, November.

Levine, Mark. 2009. “Doing the Devil’s Work: Heavy Metal and the Threat to Public Order in the Muslim World,” Social Compass (December) 56: 564-576, doi:10.1177/0037768609345985.

Lewis, James R. 2010. “Fit for the Devil: Toward an Understanding of ‘Conversion’ to Satanism,” International Journal for the Study of New Religions, 1.1: 117-138..

Lewis, James R. 2001. Satanism Today; An Encyclopedia of Religion, Folklore, and Popular Culture. Denver: ABC CLIO.

Lewis, James R. 2001. “Who Serves Satan? A Demographic and Ideological Profile,” Marburg Journal of Religious Studies 6.2: 1–25.

Lewis, James R., and Jesper Aagaard Petersen, eds. 2008. The Encyclopedic Sourcebook of Satanism. New York: Prometheus Books.

Luijk, Reuben Van. 2016. Children of Lucifer: The Origins of Modern Religious Satanism. New York: Oxford University Press.

Mombelet, Alexis. 2009. “Entre metanoïa et paranoïa: Approches sociologique et médiatique du satanisme en France,” Social Compass (December) 56: 530–540. doi: 10.1177/ 0037768609345974.

Moreman, Christopher M. 2003. “Devil Music and the Great Beast: Ozzy Osbourne, Aleister Crowley, and the Christian Right,” Journal of Religion and Popular Culture 5 (September).

Olson, Benjamin Hedge. 2013. “At the Threshold of the Inverted Womb: Anti-Cosmic Satanism and Radical Freedom,” International Journal for the Study of New Religions, 4.2:

Petersen, Jesper Aagaard. 2013. “From Book to Bit: Enacting Satanism Online.” In Egil Asprem and Kennet Granholm, eds. Contemporary Esotericism. Bristol, CT: Equinox Publishing Ltd, pp. 134– 159.

Petersen, Jesper Aagaard. 2013.”Bracketing Beelzebub: Introducing the Academic Study of Satanism,” International Journal for the Study of New Religions, 4.2: 161-176.

Petersen, Jesper Aagaard. 2012. “The Seeds of Satan: Conceptions of Magic in Contemporary Satanism,” Aries, vol. 12 (1).

Petersen, Jesper Aagaard. 2011. Between Darwin and the Devil; Modern Satanism as Discourse, Milieu, and Self. Ph.D. Dissertation, NTNU.

Petersen, Jesper Aagaard.2009. “Satanists and Nuts: The Role of Schisms in Modern Satanism.” In Sarah M. Lewis, ed. Sacred Schisms: How Religions Divide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 218– 247.

Petersen, Jesper Aagaard. 2009. Contemporary Religious Satanism: A Critical Anthology. Ashgate.

Petersen, Jesper Aagaard. 2005. “Modern Satanism: Dark Doctrines and Black Flames.” in James R. Lewis and Jesper Aagaard Petersen, eds. Controversial New Religions. New York: Oxford University Press.

Sieg, George. 2013. “Angular Momentum: From Traditional to Progressive Satanism in the Order of Nine Angles,” International Journal for the Study of New Religions, 4.2: 251-282.

Older articles and books, academic and popular sources:

Alfred, Randal H. 1976. “The Church of Satan.” In Charles Y. Glock and Robert N. Bellah, eds. The New Religious Consciousness. Berkeley: University of California Press: 180– 202.

Baddeley, Gavin. 2000. Lucifer Rising: Sin, Devil Worship and Rock ‘n’ Roll. London: Plexus. [Media source]

Crouch, Ben M., and Kelly R. Damphousse. 1992. “Newspapers and the Antisatanism Movement: A Content Analysis,” Sociological Spectrum 12 (1): 1–20. doi:10.1080/02732173.1992.9981984.

Frick, Karl R.H. 1982-1986. Satan und die Satanisten, 3 vols., Graz: Akademische Verlagsanstalt [with great caution].

Harvey, Graham. 1995. “Satanism in Britain Today,” Journal of Contemporary Religion 10: 283–296. doi:10.1080/13537909508580747.

Introvigne, Massimo. 1997. “Satanism Scares and Vampirism from the 18th Century to the Contemporary Anti-Cult Movement.” Paper presented at the World Dracula Congress. Los Angeles.

Introvigne, Massimo. 1997. Enquête sur le satanisme: Satanistes et anti-satanistes du XVIIe siècle à nos jours. Paris: Dervy.

Lanning, Kenneth V. 1992. “Investigator’s Guide to Allegations of ‘Ritual’ Child Abuse.” Behavioral Science Unit, National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI Academy. Quantico, Virginia. In Religious Tolerance. Available at http:// ra_ rep03.htm. [FBI report]

Laskey, Mark. 2016. “Sex, Satanism and Sacrificial Slaughter: The Fall River Cult Murders, 1979-80.” CVLT Nation. September 6.…/. [Media source]

Lyons, Arthur. 1970. The Second Coming: Satanism in America. New York: Dodd Mead. [Media source]

Lyons, Arthur. 1988. Satan Wants You: The Cult of Devil Worship in America. New York: Mysterious Press. [Media source]

Moody, Edward J. 1974. “Magical Therapy: An Anthropological Investigation of Contemporary Satanism.” In Irving I. Zaretsky and Mark P. Leone, eds. Religious Movements in Contemporary America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press: 355– 382.

Richardson, James T.,  Joel Best & David G. Bromley, eds. 1991. The Satanism Scare. New
York: Aldine de Gruyter.

Scott, Gini Graham. 2007 [1983]. The Magicians: An Investigation of a Group Practicing Black Magic. New York: Asja Press.

Taub, Diane E., and Lawrence D. Nelson. 1993. “Satanism in Contemporary America: Establishment or Underground?” The Sociological Quarterly 34(3): 523– 541. http://

Truzzi, Marcello. 1972. “The Occult Revival as Popular Culture: Some Random Observations on the Old and the Nouveau Witch,” The Sociological Quarterly 13(1): 16– 36. http://

Truzzi, Marcello. 1974. “Towards a Sociology of the Occult: Notes on Modern Witchcraft.” In Religious Movements in Contemporary America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press: 628–645.

van Driel, B., and John T. Richardson. 1988. “Print Media Coverage of New Religious Movements: A Longitudinal Study,” Journal of Communication 38(3): 37– 61.

Victor, Jeffrey. 1993. Satanic Panic: The Creation of a Contemporary Legend. Chicago, IL: Open Court.