The Seven Deadly Sins

I am beginning to feel the pinch of my wearing off of new books. I am always a sucker for well packaged works with an interesting theme tying a series together. The Oxford Press series on the Seven Deadly Sins is one such temptation (if you will forgive my pun). This Nicholas Blincoe review of the Simon Blackburn volume on Lust certainly peaked my interest. Here is a taste:

Lust may be wayward and intemperate, but it is far from being a blind physical urge. Lust is a “thinking” drive: even a scheming drive. Recognizing this, Blackburn finds the best accounts of erotic desire in the empirical traditions.
The result is fascinating. Hobbes, in particular, is a revelation. Often juxtaposed as an illiberal bogeyman to Immanuel Kant, in Lust it is Hobbes who comes across as the enlightened liberal. The Hobbesian view, we learn, is that the sex drive is as much an act of the imagination as of the loins. Lust conjures a world where pleasure is communicated and joy is spread around. We may fail, we may end up being thoughtless and cruel, but there is nothing intrinsically immoral about lust.

Part of me wonders whether these aren’t simply elegant excuses for ignoring the reason for listing of the Seven Deadly Sins in the first place, that is to avoid them. But the reader in me finds the subject interesting and the packaging attractive. Am I lusting after Lust? Maybe I can just check them out at the local library . . .

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).