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Mysterious ‘Devil’s Bible’ Inspires Eerie Myth About Satan


"[It] was attributed a supernatural origin."

A mysterious text that has come to be known as the "Devil's Bible" due to its inclusion of a large, nearly full-page image of Satan continues to leave experts with burning questions about its origins.

Officially known as the Codex Gigas, the text has been a subject of discussion in academic circles for quite some time, and has also inspired myths and fables about the author's motivation for creating the fascinating work.

The Devil's Bible, which is currently housed in Stockholm's National Library of Sweden, isn't just any old book, either. It's massive in size, coming in at 36 inches in height and nine inches in thickness, weighing a total of 165 pounds.

It's also the largest surviving European manuscript, but as the Daily Mail reported, the book's large size and age aren't the only things that differentiate it from other texts.

Codex Gigas digital images by Per B. Adolphson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Some believe that the book's pages could be cursed — an idea that is likely perpetuated by the aforementioned image of the devil, which is boldly and prevalently displayed.

Legend has it that a monk was sentenced to be walled up alive after breaking his vows, but that he tried to avoid his sentence by promising to write a book that contained all of the material that one needs to know about human intellect in the course of a solitary night.

Clearly unable to humanly do so, he is said to have appealed to Satan for help, offering his soul in exchange for some devilish guidance in creating the massive text, the Daily Mail reported.

The National Library of Sweden notes that the legend's origins are unknown, though, regardless of any validity to the conjured up story, "it shows how the enormous size of the manuscript so impressed those who saw it that [it] was attributed a supernatural origin."

Fable aside, further intrigue is driven by the fact that no one really knows how or why the Devil's Bible was created in the first place.

The mysterious book, which is believed to have been written around 1292 at a monastery in what is modern-day Czech Republic, includes five long texts and a complete version of the Bible.

After a copy of the Old Testament comes two reproduced works by Flavius Josephus — "The Jewish War" and "The Antiquities." Next, comes an encyclopedia, a collection of medical texts and the New Testament.

Codex Gigas digital images by Per B. Adolphson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

"The most important book of Christianity is the Bible," the National Library of Sweden writes. "The other texts in the Codex Gigas were carefully chosen to accompany it because together they provided information about Jewish history (Josephus), universal knowledge (Isidore), medicine, and local history (Cosmas)."

The description of the book also notes that the picture of the devil comes before a section on exorcising evil spirits, which could explain why Satan's picture is included in the first place as a preface to this subject matter.

Codex Gigas, which would have taken quite some time to create, is believed by some experts to have had only one author, though that author's identity remains a mystery.

Read more about the Devil's Bible here.

(H/T: Daily Mail)

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