Pride / Greed / Lust / Wrath / Gluttony / Envy / Sloth These seven words sum up the universe of sin. They featured prominently in ancient Greek culture, where they defined the manifestation of evil, and are used in Judaic-Christian culture to map out immorality. What do these terms call to mind today? What remains of their former tragic and dangerous nature? Do they still play a role in contemporary society, or have they become obsolete in a world where "anything goes", in which every boundary has been violated? Can they be re-interpreted and given new life, and perhaps incorporated into psychological and psychoanalytical therapy? One thing is certain: guilt and sin are again current topics. In this new series edited by Carlo Galli, seven scholars seek out new answers, attempt to examine the capital sins in a novel context that does away with the religious tradition in which they were originally developed, interpret them as enduring human passions, as expressions of humanity's ability to tell the difference between right and wrong.
Each of the seven books describe the social and historical evolution of one of the traditional sins, highlighting continuities between past and present and its shifting meanings over time.
Wrath is a powerful flux of energy, that may ensue from injustice, wounded love, frustrated hopes or feelings of shame. It is a strong passion that can disrupt an individual's life or upset the course of history, often meets up with hate, resentment and pride, and is associated with a desire for revenge or redemption. Many strategies have been employed to inhibit, channel, or exalt its often wild momentum. Adopting a philosopher's outlook, the author grasps the meaning and offers a theoretical explanation of this fundamental crux of the human soul, shedding light on its infinite expressions, its natural and cultural origins, its historical, political and social manifestations. Wrath can mobilize sects, parties, mobs and even entire populations: a devastating force, the effects of which are not necessarily negative, that can be managed, brought under control and governed according to specific circumstances and criteria of justice.
Remo Bodei teaches Philosophy at the University of California, Los Angeles, and previously taught at the University of Pisa's Scuola Normale Superiore.