Jul 24, 2020

A Brief Response to My Last Article

Sorry, for some reason my ability to comment on my own posts has been missing this past month and a half, possibly due to Blogger's new interface. I'm still sorting out the details.

Rather than leave people hanging, I thought I'd respond using my ability to post.

Pilgrim's Procession said:
Very interesting, if a bit problematic. Perhaps a little too protestant for a game set in fantasy italy. Placing legalistic religions (most notably Judaism, and ostensibly Catholicism) in league with devils and Pantheistic religions (Hinduism and Buddhism) in league with demons seems a little over the top. As a protestant I'd agree that these are false philosophies, but it seems a little rude.
(I hope I haven't misunderstood you, please forgive me if I have)

My inspiration for these was mainly various controversies surrounding Augustinianism in Christianity, rather than to draw parallels between other religions and the positions of the devils & demons. The Augustinian focus is probably what you're picking up as Protestant here, tho' I personally am more familiar with the Catholic and secular philosophical legacy of his work than the Protestant reception.

Angels are broadly Bonaventuran, a robustly mystical late Augustinianism. You can read his mystagogical work "Journey into the Mind of God" here. I think you could also portray them within the normative theology of Eastern Orthodoxy, particular its mystical tradition as expressed by the Philokalia

The other thing I'd emphasise is that there are multiple churches in Verra following the angelic account of the Hidden God. There are equivalents of Catholic, Calvinists, and Hussites mapped out in setting as major religious factions, and all associate most strongly with the angelic hierarchy. Most of the Sufi equivalents in setting are also associated with the angelic hierarchy.

The devils are inspired by divine command theory, and a very loose reading by Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite and Marsilio Ficino, both of whom emphasise the majesty of God and His distinction from His creations. I also took a bit of inspiration from the Islamic folk tale where Shaitan's sin is to refuse God's command to bow before Adam and to insist that it is only correct to offer obedience to God. 

(Fun historical fact: Pseudo-Dionysius invented the word "hierarchy". Giorgio Agamben writes about how this goes from a theological to a secular concept in The Kingdom and the Glory)

The demons are basically a mishmash of all of the above with the neo-Platonic concept of henosis and some of the claims of libertinism made against the Carpocratians, Borborites, and other early antinomian sects.

Anyhow, I hope that clears things up. My own religious upbringing is as a neo-Thomist Catholic, tho' I am an atheist currently and have been for several decades.