There is no society without right and wrong. There is no society without sin. But every culture has its own favorite list of trespasses. Perhaps the most influential of these was drawn up by the Church in late antiquity: the Seven Deadly Sins. Pride, sloth, gluttony, envy, anger, lust, and greed are not forbidden acts but the passions that lead us into temptation.
Aviad Kleinberg, one of the most prominent public intellectuals in Israel, examines the arts of sinning and of finger pointing. What is wrong with a little sloth? Where would haute cuisine be without gluttony? Where would we all be without our parents’ lust? Has anger really gone out of style in the West? Can consumer culture survive without envy and greed? And with all humility, why shouldn’t we be proud?
©2008 Harvard University Press (P)2009 Harvard University Press
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