Jeffery Burton Russell, “Satan: The Early Christian Tradition”

“Christian tradition has interpreted the saving work of the Passion in three main ways. According to the first interpretation, human nature had been sanctified, dignified, transformed, and saved by the very act of Christ’s becoming man. In terms of the second, Christ was a sacrifice offered to God in order to bring about the reconciliation between man and God. The third, in ransom theory, found its first strong proponent in Irenaeus, and its basis is as follows. Since Satan justly held the human race in prison, God offered himself as ransom for our freedom. The price could be paid only by God. Only God could freely submit. No on else could choose freely, because original sin had deprived us all our freedom. By submitting to Satan’s power of his own free will and choice, Christ liberated us from the Devil’s power. God handed Jesus over in order to release the hostages. The Devil accepted Jesus. But when he seized him and put him to death, he overstepped the boundaries of justice, since Jesus himself was without sin and could not justly be held. The Devil had held us justly in the past, but when he broke the rules of justice himself, he lost his rights and could no longer hold either Jesus or us. Christ’s suffering crippled the Devil, freeing us from death and damnation.”

From “A Very Argentinian Mystery,” by Jon Lee Anderson

“In 1955, when Juan Domingo Perón, the grandmaster of twentieth-century Argentine politics, was overthrown in a military coup, the general who had ousted him ordered a team of officers to steal the embalmed body of his late wife, Evita, who had died of cancer three years earlier. Evita’s body, which had been on exhibit at a Perónist union’s headquarters in Buenos Aires, vanished for the next seventeen years, its whereabouts known only to a select few officers. At one point, leftist Montonero guerrillas kidnapped and murdered a former President in a failed effort to retrieve the corpse. Evita’s body was eventually sent to Spain, where Perón was living in exile, and handed over to him.”

From The New Yorker, 1/23/15