Further Crowdsourcing

Michael Pacher, "St. Wolfgang and the Devil"

I have been putting off mentioning this for fear of outrunning the big Other and getting burned, but T&T Clark has offered me a book contract for a revised version of my dissertation, under the title Politics of Redemption: The Social Logic of Salvation.

I am breaking my silence because my editor has asked me about a potential cover image, and I need help. Everyone agrees that something featuring the devil is absolutely essential, and I’m thinking there must be some medieval painting that would capture the spirit of my project in some oblique way. Anthony suggested the image above, which he got from this post, but I think it might be a little “much.”

I’m not sure I necessarily want something with the cross on it, though I’m not 100% sold on its absence — perhaps something like a “temptation in the desert” scene? Or maybe — and this is actually a good idea that I just suddenly thought of — something that juxtaposes the temptation of Adam and Eve with the temptation of Christ? Basically, anything that could include Adam, Christ, and the Devil would be totally perfect.

31 Responses to “Further Crowdsourcing”

  1. Adam Kotsko Says:

    I also found this one just now:

  2. Adam Kotsko Says:

    HA! They’re the same image.

  3. Adam Kotsko Says:

    What I like about this one is the inclusion of the city — seems to fit with the “political” theme.

  4. Alex Says:

    Will the intial dissetation be beefed out in any way to emphasise the politics of all this, or is the ontology already the politics?

    Congratulation also!

  5. Adam Kotsko Says:

    It was already sufficiently beefed in that regard, in my opinion.

    The problem I’m seeing with this image is that Jesus is white and the devil is black. Which is probably going to be a constant.

  6. Evan Says:

    Here’s the marriage of Adam & Eve alongside the temptation… seems to be a theme in some medieval manuscripts. No Christ, though, unless he’s officiating on the left.

    The information on it is here… scroll down to p.30.

  7. Evan Says:

    …it may not have a city (or an atonement), but it seems to juxtapose the social with the individual.

  8. Dave Mesing Says:

    Congrats on the offer.

    Does the devil in Anthony’s picture have a face on its ass, too? I don’t have my glasses on, so I’m squinting, but it sure looks like it to me.

    I like that picture, but I am having trouble picturing it on the front of the book. It includes the city, too, but you might want to try to go with something more “spread out” like the first one mentioned in the comments.

  9. Adam Kotsko Says:

    You can click for a larger image! All my comments in this thread have been about the image Colin and I both linked in the comments.

  10. Andy Says:

    But this may suggest a little too much RO.

    the black devil thing may well turn out to be a constant. I have certainly found demons explicitly called “ethiopians” as early as the fourth century. That’s not to say this doesn’t happen earlier.

  11. Anthony Paul Smith Says:


    Yes he does. Which is why I liked the image so much.

    What’s more offensive? Ass-face devil or black devil?

  12. Jeremy Says:

    I think black devil is more offensive. So, I cast my vote for ass-face devil.

  13. Adam Kotsko Says:

    I sent something to my editor linking to the black devil one, saying what I liked about it and asking whether it could be the basis for some original image — also mentioned my preferences stated in the post. Maybe they’ll be able to come up with something — but I also told him I’d send along any further good ideas, so keep it coming.

  14. Anthony Paul Smith Says:

    I assume in the original image the devil could be made white and Jesus could be made black?

  15. Jeremy Says:

    If the colors could be switched I’d switch my vote. Also, if there cannot be a face on Satan’s ass, would it possible to put an ass on an angel’s face?

  16. Dave Mesing Says:

    Ass-face devil sounds like a sweet title for a blog…

    I do like the idea of using the picture that Colin linked, but without the black devil. Black devil is definitely more offensive that ass-face devil, which is just kind of juvenile (seriously, though, I wonder what the logic was for that?) I’ll keep searching for more.

  17. Adam Kotsko Says:

    Maybe if they could just turn the devil the traditional red, it’d be okay.

  18. Alex Says:

    I’d like to see Colin’s picture updated to a more 20th century setting, which the angels perhaps replaced with “humanity”, as per the solidarity implied by you account of the atonement.

  19. Adam Kotsko Says:

    Okay, what if the two angels are replaced by Adam and Eve?

  20. Adam Kotsko Says:

    I also like the modernization idea.

  21. Austin Says:

    Found this that might be interesting:

    Also, perhaps a split-screen motif with this image in one corner:

    And in the other corner (maybe diagonally) Colin’s pic…

    I also just love this one:


  22. Brad Johnson Says:

    I have been pressing Adam to go with this classic rendition of the Adversary.

  23. Alex Says:

    Even better! Perhaps we can crowd-source an artist for you…maybe you could update the post along these lines…

  24. Adam Kotsko Says:

    I’m dropping everything and going with Brad’s.

  25. poserorprophet Says:

    Well, no image of Adam, but this pic does provide a pretty good representation of a Jesus-figure being tempted by a (white) devil:

  26. Nic D'Alessio Says:

    Okay, as a medievalist, I have to chime in. The first image, I have to say, is very overused (including as the cover for a recent Baker Academic book), and I’d suggest finding something else. Here are few interesting I found pretty quickly off the British Library’s manuscript image database:

    1. A tree of vices, stemming from Adam and Eve’s fall (c. 1310)


    2. Adam and Eve banished from Paradise (c. 1320-30)


    3. Temptation of Christ (c. early 13th c.)


    4. Christ before Pilate (c. 1270)


  27. Dave Belcher Says:

    I easily like Nic’s number 3 above (Temptation of Christ) the best.

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  29. Chris Rodkey Says:

    I am throwing it out there, but I would like to use it for my own book cover some day: Andres Serranno’s Piss Christ.

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