SC 101: The Semester from Hell

The Devil and Hell play key roles in the faith of many people, but they make only limited appearances in the canonized text of the Bible. So, what are the origins of Satan as a religious and literary figure, and where do we get the notion of a place of eternal damnation? Is Satan an aspect of God, a ravenous beast, a tragic hero, or a red guy with horns and a tail? We will trace the evolution of Satan and hell in the Bible and other ancient literature, touching on the problem of evil and the ideas of demons and damnation in general. Then we will explore how and why images of the Devil and hell change through time in literature, philosophy, visual arts, theatre, and film.


Meet Your Professor

Professor of Religion, Associate Dean for General Education

Mark Gammon, PhD

I came to Iowa in 2003 from George Washington University, where I worked as a research associate in a public policy think tank. As a graduate of a small liberal arts college, I knew early on that I wanted to teach at a place like Simpson, where real mentoring relationships between faculty and students are possible, and where questions of meaning play a key role in the educational experience.

I teach courses in systematic and moral theology, religion and international relations, and Islam. I have broad, varied interests in the field of religion. My dissertation addressed the meaning of Jewish suffering for Christian moral theology after the Holocaust, a subject I have continued to study through an NEH seminar on medieval Jewish-Christian relations at Oxford University’s Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies and two faculty seminars at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. I have done work on church-state relations and political theory, including human rights and the implications of free speech for the protection of children. My recent research centers on the theological and political implications of seventeenth-century radical Calvinism. I also have interests in religion and culture, and while at Simpson I have taught courses on vampires, superheroes, witchcraft, and the devil.

I live in Des Moines with my wife Eva Jablonski, a swine veterinarian, and our daughter Wanda, a Spider-Man fanatic. I love the Red Sox, Marvel superheroes, spy novels, and cooking.


Meet Your SC Leader

Hello everyone! My name is Jailyn Seabrooks and I will be a sophomore at Simpson College. I am so excited to be Professor Gammon’s SC Leader!

A little about me, I am from Alburnett, Iowa. It is a small town near Cedar Rapids. I graduated with 36 people in my grade! Here at Simpson I am majoring in Political Science and Religion. My dream career is working in a political non-profit. In my free time I like binge watching Grey’s Anatomy, eating sushi, and catching a nap between classes.

You will definitely see me around campus a lot, because I am involved in quite a few things. I am in the Student Government Association, Kappa Kappa Gamma (a social sorority), the John C. Culver Fellowship, the Speech & Debate team, Simpson Youth Academy, Model UN, Interfaith Fellowship and Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere foundation. I am also a CA for Kappa Kappa Gamma.

I am the first one in my family to go to college, so I definitely understand how overwhelming your first year of college can be. I love Simpson and I am so excited to help you adjust into college life. Feel free to reach out to me if you need anything! My email is

Meet Your Writing Fellow