Ancient Books: The Devil’s Bible

by Joanna Penn

I find that basing my writing on aspects of reality makes the fiction appear more real. Therefore I am always on the lookout for fascinating snippets of history, religion, art or culture that can bring a richness to the story.

The Devil’s Bible, also called the Codas Gigas, was one of those serendipitous findings as I was searching for an appropriate ‘MacGuffin‘ for Prophecy.

Legend tells of its creation at the hands of monk who sinned grievously. In order to prevent the punishment of being walled up alive, he promised to write down all human knowledge in one night. Finding himself overwhelmed and unable to complete the task, he bargained with the Devil – his soul for the finished book.

The Devil’s Bible contains the books of the Latin Bible but also spells, incantations, exorcism prayers and images of the Devil and the Kingdom of Heaven. There are pages missing which was brilliant as the search for the pages became a key part of the story that merged art history with religion, both passions of mine.

You can watch a brilliant National Geographic program on the Devil’s Bible – here’s the National Geographic article that refers to it. Below is a great snippet of the program [4.34 mins]

For more information, you can view the following:

The Codas Gigas official page at the National Library of Sweden

The entire Codas Gigas scanned so you can see it for yourself


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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

yamabuki Zhou April 19, 2012 at 11:32 am

Are you familiar with Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan, and his book The Satanic Bible?


Joanna April 22, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Thanks Yamabuki, I have heard of this – which is more focused on the Satanic. The Devil’s Bible above is actually a Christian Bible, it just has images of the Devil it it as well as exorcism verses etc. I am not so much into researching Satanism as the biblical variations of evil. Thanks for your comment!


Maria Tatham May 14, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Joanna, a writer would have to search far and wide to find a more intriguing MacGuffin.


Joanna May 14, 2012 at 7:13 pm

The funny thing is that the picture of the Devil really isn’t that scary :) I have actually made a lot more of the demonic stuff than the “real” Devil’s Bible!


Maria Tatham May 14, 2012 at 10:13 pm

I see! Well, that’s okay! Want to read Arkane Thriller series now. But don’t have a Kindle. I’ll try to figure this out…


Joanna May 15, 2012 at 6:25 am

Thanks Maria – I am just getting the books back out there onto all the other platforms, and also in print. I need to get this done :)


Maria Tatham May 15, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Joanna, it was simple to download a Kindle app to my PC and get them through Amazon. Best wishes to you as you continue your writing, and helping others! Am enjoying Pentecost.

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