May 14, 2018

Is the Devil a Deal Lawyer?

This recent Prof. Bainbridge blog points out a new article that asks an intriguing question – “Is Satan a Transactions Attorney?”  The article reviews Old Nick’s deal making activities as recounted throughout Western literature.  This excerpt claims that he got his start in the deal business tempting Christ in the desert:

Christ’s temptation in the desert is a turning point in the way Satan deals with human beings. In the cases of Saint Theophilus of Adana, Doctor Faustus, and their scions, the individual is no longer Satan’s victim, but party to a contract with him and complicit with the evil he oversees. Indeed, the medieval and early-modern drive to purge European society of witchcraft is but a perverse recognition of the complicity of individuals with evil. No longer a tormenter exclusively, Satan has become a negotiator, a former of contracts, a transactions attorney.

So, is the Devil a deal lawyer? If he was, it probably wouldn’t be a huge surprise. I think most lawyers would agree that they’ve worked on more than a few deals with somebody who reminded them of The Prince of Darkness.

I’m not sure I agree with a New Testament start date for Lucifer’s career as a dealmaker – although my guess is that he started off in the Old Testament as an investment banker. After all, doesn’t telling Eve that if she & Adam eat of the fruit of the tree, “ye shall be as gods,” sounds very similar to the kind of stuff you hear in bankers’ pitches?

John Jenkins