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's The Seven Deadly Sins and the Four Last Things.]] The Seven Deadly Sins, also known as the Capital Vices or Cardinal Sins, is a classification of the most objectionable vices which has been used since early Christian times to educate and instruct followers concerning (immoral) fallen man's tendency to sin. It consists of "Lust", "Gluttony", "Greed", "Sloth", "Wrath", "Envy", and "Pride".

The Catholic Church divided sin into two principal categories: "Venial sins", which are relatively minor, and could be forgiven through any Sacramentals or Sacraments of the church, and the more severe "Capital" or Mortal sins. Mortal sins destroyed the life of grace, and created the threat of eternal damnation unless either absolved through the sacrament of Confession, or forgiven through perfect contrition on the part of the penitent.

Beginning in the early 14th century, the popularity of the seven deadly sins as a theme among European artists of the time eventually helped to ingrain them in many areas of Christian culture and Christian consciousness in general throughout the world. One means of such pie ingraining was the creation of the mnemonic "SALIGIA" based on the first letters in Latin of the seven deadly sins: superbia, avaritia, luxuria, invidia, gula, ira, acedia.[1]

Contents

Historic Lists of Sins

Biblical Lists

In the Book of Proverbs, it is stated that the Lord specifically regards "six things the Lord hateth, and the seventh His soul detesteth." namely[2]:

  • Haughty eyes
  • A lying tongue
  • Hands that shed innocent blood
  • A heart that devises wicked plots
  • Feet that are swift to run into mischief
  • A deceitful witness that uttereth lies
  • Him that soweth discord among brethren

While there are seven of them, this list is considerably different to the traditional one, the only sin on both lists being pride. Another list of bad things, given this time by the Epistle to the Galatians, includes more of the traditional seven sins, although the list is substantially longer: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, "and such like"[3].

Development of the Traditional Seven Sins

The modern concept of the Seven Deadly Sins is linked to the works of the 4th century monk Evagrius Ponticus, who listed eight evil thoughts, in Latin, as follows[4]:

These 'evil thoughts' can be broken down into three groups[4]:

  • lustful appetite (Gluttony, Fornication, and Avarice)
  • irascibility (Anger)
  • intellect (Vainglory, Sorrow, Pride, and Discouragement)

In 590 AD, some years after Ponticus, Pope Gregory I revised this list to form the more common Seven Deadly Sins, by folding sorrow into despair, vainglory into pride, and adding extravagance and envy, while removing fornication from the list. In the order used by both Pope Gregory and by Dante Alighieri in his epic poem The Divine Comedy, the seven deadly sins are as follows:

  1. luxuria (extravagance)
  2. gula (gluttony)
  3. avaritia (avarice/greed)
  4. acedia (acedia/discouragement)
  5. ira (wrath)
  6. invidia (envy)
  7. superbia (pride)

The identification and definition of the seven deadly sins over their history has been a fluid process and the idea of what each of the seven actually encompasses has evolved over time. Additionally, as a result of semantic change:

  • Lust was substituted for luxuria in all but name
  • socordia (sloth) was substituted for acedia

This process of change has been aided by the fact that the personality traits are not collectively referred to, in either a cohesive or codified manner, by the Bible itself; other literary and ecclesiastical works were instead consulted, as sources from which definitions might be drawn. Part II of Dante's Divine Comedy, Purgatorio, has almost certainly been the best known source since the Renaissance.

The modern Roman Catholic Catechism lists the sins as: "pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth/acedia".[5]. Each of the seven deadly sins now also has an opposite among corresponding seven holy virtues (sometimes also referred to as the contrary virtues). In parallel order to the sins they oppose, the seven holy virtues are chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility.

The sins

Extravagance

Extravagance (Latin, luxuria) is unrestrained excess. Extravagant behaviour includes the frequent purchase of luxury goods, and forms of debauchery.

In the Romance languages, the cognates of luxuria (the Latin name of the sin) evolved to have an exclusively sexual meaning; the Old French cognate was adopted into English as luxury, but this lost its sexual meaning by the 14th century[6]. The church found it more practical and politically expedient to allow this more restricted interpretation to become dominant, resulting in lust replacing extravagance in the list.

Lust

Lust or lechery, is usually thought of as excessive thoughts or desires of a sexual nature. Dante's criterion was excessive love of others, which therefore rendered love and devotion to God as secondary.

Giving in to lusts can lead to sexual or sociological compulsions and/or transgressions including (but not limited to) sexual addiction, fornication, adultery, bestiality, rape, perversion, and incest. In Dante's Purgatorio, the penitent walks within flames to purge himself of lustful/sexual thoughts and feelings.

Gluttony

, 1896)]] Derived from the Latin gluttire, meaning to gulp down or swallow, gluttony (Latin, gula) is the over-indulgence and over-consumption of anything to the point of waste. In the Christian religions, it is considered a sin because of the excessive desire for food, or its withholding from the needy.[7]

Depending on the culture, it can be seen as either a vice or a sign of status. Where food is relatively scarce, being able to eat well might be something to take pride in (although this can also result in a moral backlash when confronted with the reality of those less fortunate). Where food is routinely plentiful, it may be considered a sign of self-control to resist the temptation to over-indulge.

Medieval church leaders (e.g., Thomas Aquinas) took a more expansive view of gluttony,[7] arguing that it could also include an obsessive anticipation of meals, and the constant eating of delicacies and excessively costly foods.[8] Aquinas went so far as to prepare a list of six ways to commit gluttony, including:

  • Praepropere - eating too soon.
  • Laute - eating too expensively (washedly).
  • Nimis - eating too much.
  • Ardenter - eating too eagerly (burningly).
  • Studiose - eating too daintily (keenly).
  • Forente - eating wildly (boringly).

Greed

Greed (Latin, avaritia), also known as avarice or covetousness, is, like lust and gluttony, a sin of excess. However, greed (as seen by the church) is applied to the acquisition of wealth in particular. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote that greed was "a sin against God, just as all mortal sins, in as much as man condemns things eternal for the sake of temporal things." In Dante's Purgatory, the penitents were bound and laid face down on the ground for having concentrated too much on earthly thoughts. "Avarice" is more of a blanket term that can describe many other examples of greedy behavior. These include disloyalty, deliberate betrayal, or treason,[citations needed] especially for personal gain, for example through bribery . Scavenging[citation needed] and hoarding of materials or objects, theft and robbery, especially by means of violence, trickery, or manipulation of authority are all actions that may be inspired by greed. Such misdeeds can include simony, where one profits from soliciting goods within the actual confines of a church.

Acedia

Acedia (Latin, acedia) (from Greek ακηδία = neglect to take care of something - and in this case neglect to do whatever one should do in order to be saved) is apathetic listlessness; depression without joy. It is similar to melancholy, although acedia describes the behaviour, while melancholy suggests the emotion producing it. In early Christian thought, the lack of joy was regarded as a wilful refusal to enjoy the goodness of God and the world God created; by contrast, the apathy was regarded as a spiritual affliction that discouraged people from their religious work.

When Thomas Aquinas described acedia in his interpretation of the list, he described it as an uneasiness of the mind, being a progenitor for lesser sins such as restlessness and instability. Dante refined this definition further, describing acedia as the failure to love God with all one's heart, all one's mind and all one's soul; to him it was the middle sin, the only one characterised by an absence or insufficiency of love.

Despair

Despair (Latin, Tristitia) describes a feeling of dissatisfaction or discontent, which causes unhappiness with one's current situation. Since unhappiness inherently results from the sin, the sin was sometimes referred to as sadness. Since sadness often results in acedia, Pope Gregory's revision of the list subsumed Despair into Acedia.

Sloth

Gradually, the focus came to be on the consequences of acedia, rather than the cause, and so, by the 17th century, the exact deadly sin referred to was believed to be the failure to utilize one's talents and gifts.[citation needed] In practice, it came to be closer to sloth (Latin, Socordia) than acedia. Even in Dante's time there were signs of this change; in his Purgatorio he had portrayed the penance for acedia as running continuously at top speed.

The modern view goes further, regarding laziness and indifference as the sin at the heart of the matter. Since this contrasts with a more wilful failure to, for example, love God and his works, sloth is often seen as being considerably less serious than the other sins, more a sin of omission than of commission.

Wrath

Wrath (Latin, ira), also known as anger or "rage", may be described as inordinate and uncontrolled feelings of hatred and anger. These feelings can manifest as vehement denial of the truth, both to others and in the form of self-denial, impatience with the procedure of law, and the desire to seek revenge outside of the workings of the justice system (such as engaging in vigilantism) and generally wishing to do evil or harm to others. The transgressions born of vengeance are among the most serious, including murder, assault, and in extreme cases, genocide. Wrath is the only sin not necessarily associated with selfishness or self-interest (although one can of course be wrathful for selfish reasons, such as jealousy, closely related to the sin of envy). Dante described vengeance as "love of justice perverted to revenge and spite". In its original form, the sin of wrath also encompassed anger pointed internally rather than externally. Thus suicide was deemed as the ultimate, albeit tragic, expression of wrath directed inwardly, a final rejection of God's gifts.

Envy

Like greed, Envy (Latin, invidia) may be characterized by an insatiable desire; they differ, however, for two main reasons. First, greed is largely associated with material goods, whereas envy may apply more generally. Second, those who commit the sin of envy resent that another person has something they perceive themselves as lacking, and wish the other person to be deprived of it. Dante defined this as "love of one's own good perverted to a desire to deprive other men of theirs." In Dante's Purgatory, the punishment for the envious is to have their eyes sewn shut with wire because they have gained sinful pleasure from seeing others brought low. Aquinas described envy as "sorrow for another's good".[9]

Pride

In almost every list Pride (Latin, superbia), or hubris, is considered the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins, and indeed the ultimate source from which the others arise. It is identified as a desire to be more important or attractive than others, failing to acknowledge the good work of others, and excessive love of self (especially holding self out of proper position toward God). Dante's definition was "love of self perverted to hatred and contempt for one's neighbor." In Jacob Bidermann's medieval miracle play, Cenodoxus, pride is the deadliest of all the sins and leads directly to the damnation of the titulary famed Parisian doctor. In perhaps the best-known example, the story of Lucifer, pride (his desire to compete with God) was what caused his fall from Heaven, and his resultant transformation into Satan. In Dante's Divine Comedy, the penitents were forced to walk with stone slabs bearing down on their backs in order to induce feelings of humility.

Vainglory

Vainglory (Latin, vanagloria) is unjustified boasting. Pope Gregory viewed it as a form of pride, so he folded vainglory into pride for his listing of sins.

The Latin term gloria roughly means boasting, although its English cognate - glory - has come to have an exclusively positive meaning; historically, vain roughly meant futile, but by the 14th century had come to have the strong narcissistic undertones, of irrelevant accuracy, that it retains today[10]. As a result of these semantic changes, vainglory has become a rarely used word in itself, and is now commonly interpreted as referring to vanity (in its modern narcissistic sense).

Catholic virtues

The Roman Catholic Church also recognizes Seven Virtues which correspond inversely to each of the seven deadly sins.

Vice Virtue
Lust Chastity
Gluttony Temperance
Greed Charity
Sloth Diligence
Wrath Patience
Envy Kindness
Pride Humility

Associations with demons

In 1589, Peter Binsfeld paired each of the deadly sins with a demon, who tempted people by means of the associated sin. According to Binsfeld's classification of demons, the pairings are as follows

There are also other demons who invoke sin, for instance Lilith and her offspring, the incubi and succubi, invoke lust. The succubi sleep with men in order to impregnate themselves, so that they can spawn demons. The incubi sleep with women to lead them astray and to impregnate them with demon spawn.

Cultural references

The seven deadly sins have long been a source of inspiration for writers and artists, from morality tales of the Middle Ages to modern manga series and video games.

Enneagram Integration

The Enneagram of Personality integrates the seven with two additional sins, deceit and fear. The Enneagram descriptions are broader than the traditional Christian interpretation and are presented in a comprehensive map.[11][12]

Literary works inspired by the seven deadly sins

  • John Climacus (7th century) in The Ladder of Divine Ascent places victory over the eight thoughts as individual steps of the thirty-step ladder: wrath (8), vainglory (10, 22), sadness (13), gluttony (14), lust (15), greed (16, 17), acedia (18), and pride (23).
  • Dante's (1265–1321 A.D.) The Divine Comedy is a three-part work composed of "Inferno", "Purgatorio", and "Paradiso". "Inferno" divides Hell into nine concentric circles, four of which directly correspond to some of the deadly sins (Circle 2 to lust, 3 to gluttony, 4 to greed, and 5 to wrath, as well as sloth). The punishment of these two sins take place in the Stygian lake, the wrathful being punished atop the lake, attacking one another with the various members of their person, including fangs.[13]. The slothful are punished underneath the lake breathing sighs in bubbles, singing a dolorous song, as told by Virgil in Canto VII.[14] The remaining circles do not neatly map onto the seven sins. In "Purgatorio", the mountain[clarification needed] is scaled in seven levels and follows the sin sequence of Aquinas (starting with pride).
  • William Langland's (c. 1332–1386) Vision of Piers Plowman is structured around a series of dreams that are critical of contemporary errors while encouraging godly living. The sins are mentioned in this order: proud (pride; Passus V, lines 62–71), lechour (lecherousness; V. 71–74), envye (envy; V. 75–132), wrathe (wrath; V. 133–185), coveitise (covetousness; V. 186–306), glutton (gluttony; V. 307–385), sleuthe (sloth; V. 386–453) (using the B-text).[clarification needed][1]
  • John Gower's (1330-1408) Confessio Amantis centres on a confession by Amans ("the Lover") to Genius, the chaplain of the goddess Venus. Following confessional practice of the time, the confession is structured around the seven deadly sins, though focuses on his sins against the rules of courtly love.[2]
  • Geoffrey Chaucer's (c. 1340–1400) Canterbury Tales features the seven deadly sins in The Parson's Tale: pride (paragraphs 24–29), envy (30–31), wrath (32–54), sloth (55–63), greed (64–70), gluttony (71–74), lust (75–84).[3]
  • Christopher Marlowe's (1564–1593) The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus shows Lucifer, Beelzebub, and Mephistophiles coming from hell to show Dr. Fastus "some pastime" (Act II, Scene 2). The sins present themselves in order: pride, greed, envy, wrath, gluttony, sloth, lust. [4]
  • Edmund Spenser's (1552–1599), The Faerie Queene addresses the seven deadly sins in "Book I (The Legend of the Knight of the Red Cross, Holiness)": vanity/pride (Canto IV, stanzas 4–17), idleness/sloth (IV. 18-20), gluttony (IV. 21-23), lechery/lust (IV. 24-26), avarice/greed (IV. 27-29), envy (IV. 30-32), wrath (IV. 33-35). [5]
  • Garth Nix's "The Keys to the Kingdom" is a seven-book children's series in which the main nemesis of each book is afflicted by one of the seven deadly sins.

Art and music

Film, television, radio, comic books and video games

  • The film The Devil's Nightmare is about a succubus who kills a group of tourists who are each guilty of one of the seven sins.
  • The original version of the film Bedazzled (1967) (remade in 2000) includes all seven sins, most notably Raquel Welch as lust, Barry Humphries as envy, and Peter Cook as Lucifer, representing pride.
  • In the film Se7en (1995), directed by David Fincher and starring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman, a mysterious serial killer punishes transgressors of each of the deadly sins through his crimes.
  • The Magnificent Seven Deadly Sins (1971) is a British film built around a series of comedy sketches on the seven deadly sins, and referencing the classic Western film The Magnificent Seven.
  • In the video game Overlord, the seven heroes that the protagonist must defeat are based on the seven sins.
  • The Seven Deadly Sins (traditionally given as "The Seven Deadly Enemies of Man") figure prominently in the mythos of Fawcett/DC Comics superhero Captain Marvel, and have appeared several times as supervillains in recent DC Comics publications.
  • In the manga and anime Digimon (the Seven Great Demon Lords, each of whom represent one of the sins, are a major group of antagonists); Umineko no Naku Koro ni, the seven deadly sins are represented by the seven Stakes of Purgatory and each of them are named after the devils corresponding to the sin.
  • In the manga and anime Reborn! the members of the group of assassins Varia are named after each one of the seven deadly sins (such as Superbia Squalo, Superbia meaning pride in Latin; Lussuria, meaning Lust in Italian) or after the demons that represent the sins (such as Mammon and Belphegor)
  • In the manga and anime Fullmetal Alchemist, each sin is used as the name of each member of a group of powerful false humans called "homunculi", with each homunculi's personality being based on the sin he or she is named after.
  • In the videogame Devil May Cry 3, the seven deadly sins are represented by a group of common enemies, as well as by seven infernal bells. Fallen angels that personify the sins also feature heavily in the prequel manga, in which they are important in summoning the bell-containing tower in the first place.
  • In the Philippines TV series Lastikman each major villain represents one of the deadly sins.
  • In the Norwegian TV show De syv dødssyndene (The Seven Deadly Sins), Christopher Schau attempts to invoke the wrath of God by carrying out each of the seven deadly sins. When Schau was talking about the show on the talk show Senkveld (Late Night), he said "If I don't end up in Hell, then there is no Hell." The program caused a great deal of public debate surrounding the issue of censorship.
  • In Matt Fraction's comic book Casanova, the series' issues are named, in Latin, for each of the seven sins, beginning with Luxuria.
  • In the game Rengoku II: The Stairway to Heaven, you go through eight levels of a tower, seven of them being named after each of the Seven Deadly Sins (the other tower is Paradise).
  • In the webcomic Jack, the seven sins are personified by anthropomorphs.
  • Comedian Mark Watson examined the seven sins in the first series of the BBC radio show Mark Watson Makes the World Substantially Better. In order to fit the sins into a six part series Greed and Gluttony were combined as the 'similar sins'.

See also

References

  1. ^ Boyle, Marjorie O'Rourke (1997). "Three: The Flying Serpent". Loyola's Acts: The Rhetoric of the Self. (The New Historicism: Studies in Cultural Poetics,. 36). Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 100–146. ISBN 978-0-520-20937-4. http://ark.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/ft2t1nb1rw/. 
  2. ^ Proverbs 6:16–19
  3. ^ Galatians
  4. ^ a b Refoule, 1967
  5. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church
  6. ^ Oxford English dictionary
  7. ^ a b Okholm, Dennis. "Rx for Gluttony". Christianity Today, Vol. 44, No. 10, September 11, 2000, p.62
  8. ^ "Gluttony". Catholic Encyclopedia. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06590a.htm. 
  9. ^ http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/aquinas/summa/sum291.htm
  10. ^ Oxford English dictionary
  11. ^ Maitri, The Enneagram of Passions and Virtues, pp.11-31
  12. ^ Rohr, The Enneagram
  13. ^ see Inferno, Canto VII
  14. ^ Inferno, Canto VII.120-128, translated by H.F. Cary, courtesy Project Gutenberg
  • Refoule, F. (1967) Evagrius Ponticus. In Staff of Catholic University of America (Eds.) New Catholic Encyclopaedia. Volume 5, pp644–645. New York: McGrawHill.
  • Schumacher, Meinolf (2005): "Catalogues of Demons as Catalogues of Vices in Medieval German Literature: 'Des Teufels Netz' and the Alexander Romance by Ulrich von Etzenbach." In In the Garden of Evil: The Vices and Culture in the Middle Ages. Edited by Richard Newhauser, pp. 277–290. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies.

Further reading

External links


Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

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English

Noun

seven deadly sins

  1. The cardinal sins enumerated by Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century - pride/vanity, envy, gluttony, greed/avarice, lust, sloth, wrath/anger.

Translations

See also


Simple English

Christianity says that there are sins that are worse to commit than others. There are seven sins that it calls deadly:

Ranked in a growing order of severity (worst sins listed last) like in Dante's Divine Comedy (in the Purgatorio), the seven deadly sins are:

  • Lust (fornication) — Unlawful sexual desire, such as desiring sex with a person outside marriage. (Dante's definition was "excessive love of others," and this reduced the love that a person could give God).
  • Gluttony — Wasting of food, either through eating too much food, drink or drugs, misplaced desire for food for its taste, or not giving food to the needy ("excessive love of pleasure" was Dante's definition).
  • Greed (covetousness, avarice) — Greed is when somebody wants more things than the person needs or can use. Dante wrote that greed is too much "love of money and power".
  • Sloth (also accidie, acedia) — Laziness; idleness and wastefulness of time that a person has. Laziness is hated because:
  • Others have to work harder
  • Delaying what God wants a person to do or not doing it at all
  • It makes life harder for oneself, because useful work does not get done
  • It, like gluttony, is a sin of waste, for it wastes time, maybe because of pride
  • Sloth is a state of equilibrium: one does not produce much, but one does not need much either (in Dante's theology, sloth is the "failure to love God with all one's heart, all one's mind, and all one's soul"; specific examples including being lazy, being scared, lack of imagination, complacency, and not doing what the person should do).
  • Wrath (anger, hate) — Inappropriate (not right) feelings of hatred, revenge or even denial, as well as punitive desires outside of justice (Dante's description was "love of justice perverted to revenge and spite").
  • Envy (jealousy) — Hating other people for what they have. Dante wrote that envy is "Love of one's own good perverted to a desire to deprive other men of theirs" (in other words, thinking that the person himself should have more, even if it means someone else will have less because of him.)
  • Pride (vanity) — A desire to be important or attractive to others or excessive love of self (holding self out of proper position toward God or fellows; Dante's definition was "love of self perverted to hatred and contempt for one's neighbor").

People see that some of those sins are connected. They have tried to put an order to them. For example, pride (love of self out of proportion) is needed for gluttony (the over-consumption or waste of food), as well as sloth, envy, and most of the others. Each of those sins is a way to not loving god and to not loving the others as much as oneself. The Scholastic theologians developed schema of attribute and substance of will to explain these sins.

As previously mentioned, the Latin words for the sins are: superbia, avaritia, luxuria, invidia, gula, ira and accidia. The first letters of these words form the medieval Latin word saligia, whence the verb saligiare (to commit a deadly sin) is taken. Various mnemonic devices exist for remembering the sins in English, e.g. PEG'S LAW (pride, envy, gluttony, sloth, lust, avarice, wrath).

In the official Catechism of the Catholic Church, consisting of 2,865 numbered sections and first published in 1992 by order of Pope John Paul II, the seven deadly sins are dealt with in one paragraph. The principal codification of moral transgression for Christians continues to be the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes, which are a positive statement of morality, and part of the Sermon on the Mount.

The opposite of these sins are the seven virtues (chastity, moderation, charity, zeal, meekness, generosity, and humility) in corresponding order to the above seven deadly sins.

= Punishments

= According to the Divine Comedy, there are punishments for those who die with unconfessed deadly sins. Those guilty of lust, are in the second circle of the Inferno. There they are blown around by a strong wind, without the hope of ever resting. This is because lust is so powerful, that it can blow one around without need or aim.[1]

The gluttons are in the third circle. There, they are forced to lie in a kind of slush, made by freezing rain, black snow, and hail. This used to symbolize what they made with their life.[2]

References

  1. This is in Canto V
  2. Canto VI


Citable sentences

Up to date as of December 09, 2010

Here are sentences from other pages on Seven deadly sins, which are similar to those in the above article.








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