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Seven Deadly Sins

Seven Deadly Sins

A Very Partial List

Aviad Kleinberg

Translated by Susan Emanuel

ISBN 9780674057326

Publication date: 10/30/2010

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?

With intellectual insight and deadpan humor, Kleinberg deftly guides the reader through Jewish, Christian, and Greco-Roman thoughts on sin. Each chapter weaves the past into the present and examines unchanging human passions and the deep cultural shifts in the way we make sense of them. Seven Deadly Sins is a compassionate, original, and witty look at the stuff that makes us human.


  • The Seven Sins is a fascinating, amusing and highly readable book that offers a rethinking of our sins and passions through an examination of the Christian deadly sins—sloth, envy, lust, gluttony, greed, anger and pride--to which Kleinberg adds an eighth, self-righteousness.



  • Aviad Kleinberg is Professor of History at Tel Aviv University and the author of Prophets in Their Own Country: Living Saints and the Making of Sainthood in the Later Middle Ages.

Book Details

  • 208 pages
  • 5-1/16 x 7-15/16 inches
  • Belknap Press

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