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.
Richard Newhauser is Professor of English and Medieval Studies at Trinity University, Texas, USA.
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 redecouverte 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 frA1/4hen Franziskaner in der Geschichte der Habsucht; The meaning of Gawain's greed; Patristic Poggio? The evidence of GyAr, EgyhA!zmegyei KAnyvtA!r 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.