Seven Perennial Sins and Their Offspring

Overview

Who was it who asked, "Why does the devil have all the good tunes?"The seven "deadly sins" are not to be found in scripture as such, but they have been a staple of Christian preaching since the early church. Ken Bazyn's The Seven Perennial Sins and Their Offspring is more indebted to literature than to personal experience, ethics, or the contemporary obsession with psychology. Drawing upon a vast storehouse of reading from a wide variety of disciplines, Bazyn offers a "thick description" of each of these "root" ...

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Overview

Who was it who asked, "Why does the devil have all the good tunes?"The seven "deadly sins" are not to be found in scripture as such, but they have been a staple of Christian preaching since the early church. Ken Bazyn's The Seven Perennial Sins and Their Offspring is more indebted to literature than to personal experience, ethics, or the contemporary obsession with psychology. Drawing upon a vast storehouse of reading from a wide variety of disciplines, Bazyn offers a "thick description" of each of these "root" sins, setting them in a broad temporal, cultural, and human context. The range of reference is enormous. We are as likely to encounter Madame Bovary as Evagrius Ponticus, Jay Gatsby as Blaise Pascal, Francois Truffaut as Francis of Assisi, testifying to the perennial nature of the temptation to pride or anger, gluttony or sloth. We succumb to them over and over partly, says the author quoting Jorge Luis Borges, because "our minds are porous with forgetfulness." With the widespread adoption of the Revised Common Lectionary, topical preaching—on the creed, the ten commandments, the beatitudes—has fallen out of use. Thus the even greater need for a book like The Seven Perennial Sins. Without ever moralizing, by means of anecdote and story, the book provides a serious, but often amusing, account of the dark side of the human comedy.

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Editorial Reviews

National Catholic Reporter
This book is a fine companion for anyone seriously attempting the spiritual life. It is rich, complex, demanding, and leaves plenty of room for the hiddenness of grace,
United Methodist Reporter
Again kudos, applause, and thanks to Ken Bazyn. I would commend this book to all who preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Its uniqueness in today's library of Christian literature shows exactly how far we've drifted in the church.
The Living Church
Far more than a simple catena of quotations from sources both familiar and less well known, the editorial director of the Religious Book Club has provided a vibrant and well-woven tapestry that allows us to look at the traditional seven capital sins in both old and new lights.
Anglican Journal
To face up to sin we need more than a checklist. That is why Ken Bazyn's The Seven Perennial Sins and Their Offspring provides such a worthwhile examination for those who would understand themselves better.
Library Journal
Discussions about the seven cardinal sins are rare even in religious circles, but Bazyn's book may change that for three reasons: it is a treatment drawing mostly from world literary traditions, anecdotes, and stories; it is aimed at a wide Christian readership; and it never moralizes. Although there are amusing passages, this book offers a serious glimpse at not only the root seven sins (guilt, envy, anger, avarice, lust, gluttony, and sloth) but also fasting, pride, violence, and other modern offspring. Quotations are taken from writers as diverse as Martin Luther, Emily Dickinson, Borges, Pavlov, Rabelais, and Diogenes Laertius. Bazyn, who is the editorial director of the Religious Book Club, takes his 18 chapters from the 40 articles that he has written for such magazines as Commonweal and Dialog and from the sermons that he has preached in Methodist and Episcopal churches. Thought-provoking and motivational, the text is a veritable "gathering of wisdom" from the ages and ranks as one of the most enjoyable and fascinating religion books this reviewer has read. Recommended for general readers in all academic, public, and church libraries.-Gary P. Gillum, Brigham Young Univ., Provo, UT Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826415929
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 2/27/2004
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Ken Bazyn is Editorial Director of the Religious Book Club. He has edited two anthologies, The Best of Paul Tournier and You and Your. He has also published over 80 articles in periodicals such as Commonweal and Dialog.

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Table of Contents

1.Everyman’s Dilemma
2. Guilt Unraveled
3. Pride: The Way Up Is Down
4. The Faultfinder
5. Envy: The Secret Sin
6. The Overzealous Egalitarian, or Leveller
7. An Antidote to Anger
8. Violence Begets More Violence
9. Avarice: The Gleaming Deception
10. The Workaholic
11. Lust: From Attraction to Commitment
12. The Hedonist or Aesthete
13. Gluttony, or the Strong Craving
14. The Faster and Various Imitators
15. Sloth, or Don’t Lose Heart
16. The Despondent
17. St. Satan Pray for Me
18. Flaming Love.

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