Cover: Seven Deadly Sins: A Very Partial List, from Harvard University PressCover: Seven Deadly Sins in PAPERBACK

Seven Deadly Sins

A Very Partial List

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Product Details


$21.50 • £17.95 • €19.50

ISBN 9780674057326

Publication Date: 10/30/2010


208 pages

Belknap Press


[A] lively and engaging essay collection.—J. Courtney Sullivan, The New York Times Book Review

In this collection of essays about sin, and its relativity, Kleinberg focuses on the big seven: Sloth, Envy, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Anger and Pride. With each, he provides historical perspective, going back to Greek and Roman, Jewish, and Christian traditions, showing how they have changed over the centuries. He has interesting insights, a keen sense of humor, and his research skills found plenty of fodder for both. The bonus chapter on Self-Righteousness (the sin of pride and sloth), in many ways, ties them all together, as we notice the sin in others, and feel the need to point it out, yet somehow do not notice the beam in our own eye. Probably should be a reference book on many a pastor’s shelf.Sacramento Book Review

Israeli intellectual Aviad Kleinberg’s new book, Seven Deadly Sins: A Very Partial List, is a taut examination of conventional morality. He quotes widely and obscurely, from 14th-century German mystics and Jesus to Franz Kafka and the Buddha, also occasionally invoking his own experience.—Iain Marlow, The Toronto Star

Kleinberg looks at the seven famous sins, dismantling and interrogating the very notion of sin. He uses history to show how sinful behavior changes with time and context, how one generation’s sin becomes another’s freedom. This is an important and challenging book about the moral state we’re in.—Stav Sherez, The Catholic Herald

Aviad Kleinberg entertainingly and instructively poses some provocative questions—‘What’s wrong with a little sloth? Where would haute cuisine be without gluttony?’The Jewish Chronicle

The strength of this book is the link between the historian-philosopher Kleinberg and the boy Aviad that appears repeatedly in the book. It offers a successful connection between theoretical issues and the life of concrete human beings in our day and age.Haaretz

The Seven Sins is a book written with a pleasure that is bound to pass over to the reader. It is an essay that demonstrates the broad scholarship of its author, who is as comfortable with the rabbinic literature as with Christian and Jewish philosophy, with the Bible as with medieval poetry. Unlike many academics that make it a point to be boring and laborious, Kleinberg is fun to read.Maariv

The Seven Sins is an intellectual gem that introduces the reader to a new world of ideas. It is a thought-provoking and passionate book. Kleinberg cites religious (Christian and Jewish) and non-religious texts. He widens our horizons and broadens our minds… Kleinberg’s humor and learning invite the reader to a journey of self exploration and to a reexamination of the sources of evil.Timeout Israel

[Seven Deadly 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.Ynet

A learned, sometimes personal look at sloth, envy, lust, gluttony, greed, anger, and pride as well as self-righteousness and what [Kleinberg] calls ‘advanced sin.’—June Sawyers, Booklist

Kleinberg offers an accessible, thought-provoking reflection on the famous list of sins created by the Catholic Church in late antiquity. His previous books focused on saints; in this well-written, insightful, and witty book he turns his attention to sinners… It is an enjoyable read that will edify and entertain.—M.A. Berkson, Choice

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Jacket: How To Be Gay, by David M. Halperin, from Harvard University Press

Celebrating Pride Month, Part II

To celebrate Pride Month, we are highlighting excerpts from books that explore the lives and experiences of the LGBT+ community. This second excerpt comes from How To Be Gay, a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, in which David M. Halperin, a pioneer of LGBTQ studies, dares to suggest that gayness is a way of being that gay men must learn from one another to become who they are.