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How ironic was Gotthelf actually a Protestant pastor called Josef Bitzius in his portayal of the roots of evil? One suspects not at all. Allowing for any problems of translation, irony - that irony that says that, surely, this writer cannot possibly have believed this nonsense not the spider as such, of course, because it is clearly allegorical but the pre-scientific belief-system to which the spider belongs - is absent. Even if he gives himself a pseudonym, Pastor Bitzius fully endorses the values of the Swiss free peasant in a story that is valuable evidence of what historian Peter Laslett once called ' The World We Have Lost'.

However, we know that he was also a progressive by contemporary standards - interested in welfare issues - so there is an ambiguity in the tale. It is as if he wants to improve the lot of his peasant congregation but not at the expense of the values that hold the community together.

Right conduct is cemented by a horror story that provides the space in which right-minded persons like Pastor Bitzius can do their stuff. Regardless of Bitzius' own views we are not expert , there is much meat for a cultural analysis of Middle European pre-modernity in its last days in this story. It is instructive to see how the recalcitrant crooked timber of men house timber represents an apposite metaphor as you will see if you read the tale is brought into line by fear of the physical and supernatural consequences of questioning tradition and defying authority.

This is a quietly sinister book in more ways than the obvious ones. A classic in horror literature first published in , "The Black Spider" still manages to provoke dread in readers. While rather bombastic, this review written in pretty much sums up some of my issues with religion, faith, and belief.

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It's perhaps odd and ironic that horror fiction can elicit strong spiritual and faith responses in me, but I've always found it to be true. Then again, horror stories have always been some of the most moralistic and religiously pedantic stories. Just loo A classic in horror literature first published in , "The Black Spider" still manages to provoke dread in readers. Just look at the Bible: it's full of horror stories When it is used, it is more often than not accompanied with looks of either indifference or confusion.

The concept is ridiculous. It is, for many, antithetical to a view of God as a deity of Love and Forgiveness and Ultimate Peace. Why would you fear God, if God is Pure Love? It goes without saying that many religious-minded people have lost their ability to fear God. Much of that is due to the society in which they live in, a 21st-century society that has eliminated any viable form of accountability for anyone.

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Deiphobia probably not the best word to use to describe the type of God-fearing that I am referring to, but it will do is supported by the idea of accountability, if not in this life then in the next. An argument could be made that much of that supportive idea has been eroded by a secularization of society, an argument that many conservatives make about liberals.

Of course, the liberal argument can be made just as easily that most conservatives have lost sight of their own accountability and are guided more and more by self-interest. In any case, regardless of where one stands on the political spectrum, accountability is lost, and perhaps nowhere is it most visible than on our TV screens. On a daily basis we are given images of high-powered corporate executives who have made bad financial decisions that have ruined the lives of thousands of people, and they are often given nothing more than a slap on the wrist, due to loopholes and laws written into the system that protect them from prosecution.

The more money you steal in this country, the less accountable you are. We elect politicians who ignore the majority views and mandates of their constituents to do as they please, making them essentially accountable to no one, least of all those they are meant to represent. The more political power you gain, the less accountable you are Why would I fear God if I can get away with anything? Accountability, the primary structural support of deiphobia, has lost its sting in this world and, thusly, people have less and less to fear from God.

Of course, the other main structural support of deiphobia is belief, which, depending on the statistics one reads, is either seriously dwindling or transforming into something most religiously-minded people of yesteryear would not recognize as belief. The more liberal-minded, according to the Right, have chosen to ignore certain Biblical statutes, most recently in regards to homosexuality and same-sex marriage. While both sides would like to claim possession of the Absolute Truth, the real truth is: God only knows. Many Christians myself included have lost the ability to fear God because many have lost the ability to believe in any accountability in this world, let alone the next one.

If deiphobia is predicated on the principle that everything that we say or do has consequences, positive and negative, then, based on everything the media is telling us, that principle no longer holds much weight anymore and deiphobia is thusly no longer the over-riding motivator for the average person. A glaring lack of consequences is oft-cited as the main reason parents seem to no longer be able to discipline their children. It is the oft-cited reason educators are given for not being able to maintain classroom discipline.

It is the oft-cited reason why teen pregnancies seem to be on the rise despite the fact, based on reliable statistics, that they are in fact NOT rising or why violent crime is on the rise also despite the statistics suggesting that the opposite is true. Many Christians myself included have lost the ability to fear God because they have grown weary of the petty, prudish provincialism of a segment of the religiously-minded who refuses to listen to Reason.

For this segment of the religious population, fear of God has been replaced with a fear of Science, a fear of Nature, a fear of a finite universe. God, by definition, is supernatural, acting above and beyond Nature.

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  • In a universe governed by laws of nature and science, God ultimately has no place. For this reason, these desperate believers cling tenaciously to God and refute science because, in their mind, to accept scientific fact would be to destroy their belief in God.

    How could anyone believe in a God like that, if it meant denial of reality?

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    Strangely enough, the only time a real fear of God comes into play for me is when I read a good, old-fashioned scary horror story or watch a well-made horror movie. I have always loved the horror genre, mainly because I am intriguedand terrifiedby the premise that there are things still beyond our comprehension or even imagination about our vast universe.

    I am fascinated and horrified by the thought that, somewhere out there, great cosmic bogeymen float in the ether, and we are merely dust particles to them. People simply don't think about why life is good when life is actually good. They just accept it.

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    Building a strong case, however, for the negativedemons and Hell and eternal damnationis much easier because we have a frame of reference. When times are bad, we do nothing but question why: Why is this happening to me? What have I done to deserve this? Everyone knows that bad emotions are felt more powerfully than good emotions.

    We all experience pain and loss and sadness throughout our lives, and when we do, it feels like the good times never happened or they happened to someone else, so we can, deep within our dark subconscious, easily believe in a place of eternal pain, continual loss, and endless sadness. Heaven, in all its eternal glory and brightness and never-ending Joy, is frankly difficult to buy as a concept. Some of the best fire-and-brimstone preachers in history have capitalized on this fact.

    The story starts out pleasant enough, during a christening ceremony held on a beautiful summer Sunday morning in a small village in Switzerland. Hesitantly at first, the old man begins a story-within-a-story about a depraved, corrupt knight who cruelly abuses his serfs, a pact made with the Devil, and a demonic curse that plagues the entire countryside and threatens to kill every last person. It covers all bases, too, from warning the upper-class about mistreating the poor and needy; warning workers from being insubordinate to their superiors; warning the strong-headed from going against the majority rule; warning God-fearing Christians from becoming corrupted from worldly things; warning all from dabbling in the Black Arts.

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    Most of all, it is a dark fable that warns readers to lead a God-fearing life, or else. Because there is a very good reason one should fear God. I can only imagine that, at the time of its publication, its impact would have been earth-shattering terror. It was, I imagine, the type of book that church pastors secretly adored but outwardly shunned for its macabre themes.

    It was probably the type of book parents forbade children to read, thus making it more of a fun forbidden fruit to enjoy at night, by candlelight, after everyone was asleep. Yet, like the best kind of horror stories, this one manages to get under the skin and plant seeds of horrific wonder. Much like its titular creature, this book spins a tight web of dread and discomfort that is difficult to shake long after reading it.

    Oct 30, Greg Brozeit rated it liked it Shelves: deutsch , fiction. His story, set in a small Swiss village and beginning in the Middle Ages, idyllic life is upset by economic hard times and difficult demands forced on peasants by the nobleman they serve. For the price of an unbaptized child, which he convinces her to deliver to him when one is born, he promises the village a better, easier, more prosperous life.

    Christine—the fallen Christian and, of course, a woman—and Christian—a more aggressive Jesus-like character and, of course, a man. Christine and Christian: get it? When there is no master above who sits at the table, no master in the house who keeps his ears peaked, no master outside and in who holds the reins, then pretty soon the biggest start to think that he is the best, creates the most chaos, which leads to the most evil talk. Both seek a path to redemption, they just have differing ways of getting there. View all 4 comments.

    Time has a way of making us forget to be good people. This little story shows us that. Everything has a price. Por alguna razon espero encontrar algo que me haga gritar o algo asi. Nos muestra que ante una situacion desesperada, cualquiera aunque tenga buena intencion, cae en el camino incorrecto , y en est Time has a way of making us forget to be good people.

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    Nos muestra que ante una situacion desesperada, cualquiera aunque tenga buena intencion, cae en el camino incorrecto , y en esta historia, un pueblo es llevado casi a la perdicion. La atmosfera es increiblemente siniestra de una forma sutil y elegante. La vena religiosa y el mensaje de Temor a Dios es obvia pero sirve mucho hoy en dia tambien. Cualquier lector moderno leera The Black Spider y va a concordar que una vez tocado el mal, este no desaparece ni de tu vida, ni de tu historia.

    Buddy read with the spookalicious Karly. Everyone knows you don't agree to anything with the devil. The only time that worked out was in a Charlie Daniels song, and Bedazzled but Brendan Fraser had to go through a lot of crap first, so there. The people in this story are God-fearing enough to know that, but circumstances being what they were, shit happened.

    It was the knights' fault.

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    Those stu Buddy read with the spookalicious Karly. Those stupid asshole knights wanting their stupid asshole birches. This was surprisingly good after a weird beginning. It was a fast read for a classic, and a fairly decent translation. There was some crazy stuff in here, enough for sheer entertainment value, which is usually lacking in classics. The story does get a bit preachy toward the end. Good people who believe in God will never have troubles!