Sin: Essays on the Moral Tradition in the Western Middle Ages: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Sin: Essays on the Moral Tradition in the Western Middle Ages

1st Edition

By Richard Newhauser


304 pages

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Hardback: 9780860789734
pub: 2007-07-28
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Richard Newhauser examines here aspects of the moral tradition of medieval thought, specifically the construction of the seven deadly sins, their offspring, and related schematizations of immorality in the Latin West. The emphasis in these studies is on the malleability of moral categories, their relationship to changes in medieval culture, and the creativity and sensitivity of the thinkers who made use of the concepts of sinfulness in the Middle Ages. The first section examines the contexts in which the seven deadly sins (or nine accessory sins) are found in medieval Latin, English, and German texts, and in particular the genre of the treatise on vices and virtues as the major vehicle in which concepts of immorality were examined and presented to a variety of audiences for meditative or pastoral purposes. The second section deals with one of the more interesting of the seven deadly sins, avarice, in its penitential, literary, apocalyptic, and institutional contexts, as its definition changed slowly with developing commercial experiences in medieval Europe. In the last section the breadth of the concept of a sinful curiosity is examined, and its historical development is delineated in the thought of Augustine of Hippo and the early Cistercians.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction. Part 1 Contexts: On ambiguity in moral theology: when the vices masquerade as virtues; The treatise on vices and virtues as a medieval genre and its structural foundations in the Classical tradition; Alle sunde hant vnterschidunge: Der Tugend- und Lastertraktat als literarische Gattung im Mittelalter; The Parson's Tale and its generic affiliations; From treatise to sermon: Johannes Herolt on the novem peccata aliena; A la redécouverte de Willem Jordaens. Part 2 Avarice: The love of money as deadly sin and deadly disease; Towards modus in habendo: transformations in the idea of avarice.The early penitentials through the Carolingian reforms; Avarice and the Apocalypse; Avaritia und Paupertas: zur Stellung der frühen Franziskaner in der Geschichte der Habsucht; The meaning of Gawain's greed; Patristic Poggio? The evidence of Györ, Egyházmegyei Könyvtár MS. I.4. Part 3 Curiosity: Towards a history of human curiosity: a prolegomenon to its medieval phase; Augustinian vitium curiositatis and its reception; The sin of curiosity and the Cistercians. Addenda and corrigenda; Index.

About the Author

Richard Newhauser is Professor of English and Medieval Studies at Trinity University, Texas, USA.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at [email protected]

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General