Greed: The Seven Deadly Sinsby Phyllis Tickle
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Grasping. Avarice. Covetousness. Miserliness. Insatiable cupidity. Overreaching ambition. Desire spun out of control. The deadly sin of Greed goes by many names, appears in many guises, and wreaks havoc on individuals and nations alike. In this lively and generous book, Phyllis A. Tickle argues that Greed is "the Matriarch of the Deadly Clan," the ultimate source of Pride, Envy, Sloth, Gluttony, Lust, and Anger. She shows that the major faiths, from Hinduism and Taoism to Buddhism and Christianity regard Greed as the greatest calamity humans can indulge in, engendering further sins and eviscerating all virtues. As the Sikh holy book Adi Granth asks: "Where there is greed, what love can there be?" Tickle takes a long view of Greed, from St. Paul to the present, focusing particularly on changing imaginative representations of Greed in Western literature and art. Looking at such works as the Psychomachia, or "Soul Battle" of the fifth-century poet Aurelius Clemens Prudentius, the paintings of Peter Bruegel and Hieronymous Bosch, the 1987 film Wall Street, and the contemporary Italian artist Mario Donizetti, Tickle shows how our perceptions have evolved from the medieval understanding of Greed as a spiritual enemy to a nineteenth-century sociological construct to an early twentieth-century psychological deficiency, and finally to a new view, powerfully articulated in Donizetti's mystical paintings, of Greed as both tragic and beautiful.
Engaging, witty, brilliantly insightful, Greed explores the full range of this deadly sin's subtle, chameleon-like qualities, and the enormous destructive power it wields, evidenced all too clearly in the world today.
"Don't be misled by the format of this book. What you're holding is not a decaf caramel macchiatoit's a triple espresso, a little book with a big wallop. Greed, Phyllis Tickle says, is a sin we see readily in others but rarely acknowledge as our ownand therein lies its power. Urbanely provocative, with striking assertions every other pageif you don't find something to disagree with, you can't have been reading very carefullyit demands to be devoured in one sitting."John Wilson, Editor, Books & Culture
"Tickle's thoughtfulness and scholarship will make readers avaricious and leave them wanting more."Publishers Weekly
"Many cheers to Phyllis Tickle for this lively, trim, erudite study! She has pulled off a near-miracle, making the most deadening (remember Midas?) of the deadly sins glitter with fascination and gleam with moral (or immoral) depth. Tickle is full of surprises, darting from the Mahabharata to Hieronymous Bosch to D.H. Lawrence to 9/11 as she makes her case for greed as the 'mother and matrix, root and consort' of all sins. A superb achievement that leaves one, dare I say it, greedy for more."Philip Zaleski, Editor of The Best Spiritual Writing series, and author of The Recollected Heart
"Tickle gives the reader such an apt 'big picture' glimpse into our world and its history that her words could serve as the perfect introduction for the entire series. She then persuasively argues that greed is the ultimate source of all the sins, because the root of greed is desire spun out of control."Library Journal
Meet the Author
Phyllis A. Tickle frequently appears on PBS's "Religion & Ethics News Weekly," The Hallmark Channel, and National Public Radio. She is the author of some two dozen books, including the three-volume The Divine Hours, a set of manuals for observing fixed-hour prayer; The Shaping of a Life: A Spiritual Landscape; and, most recently, The Graces We Remember. Tickle was the religion editor for Publishers Weekly from 1991 to 1996 and is currently a contributing editor. She lives in Millington, Tennessee.
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