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Seven Perennial Sins and Their Offspring [Hardcover]

By Ken Bazyn (Author)
Our Price $ 29.71  
Retail Value $ 34.95  
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Item Number 136534  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   240
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.28" Width: 6.22" Height: 0.95"
Weight:   1.09 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Oct 23, 2002
Publisher   Continuum International Publishing Group
ISBN  0826414370  
EAN  9780826414373  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Who was it who asked, "Why does the devil have all the good tunes?"The seven "deadly sins" are not to be found in scripture as such, but they have been a staple of Christian preaching since the early church. Ken BazynAEs The Seven Perennial Sins and Their Offspring is more indebted to literature than to personal experience, ethics, or the contemporary obsession with psychology. Drawing upon a vast storehouse of reading from a wide variety of disciplines, Bazyn offers a "thick description" of each of these "root" sins, setting them in a broad temporal, cultural, and human context. The range of reference is enormous. We are as likely to encounter Madame Bovary as Evagrius Ponticus, Jay Gatsby as Blaise Pascal, Francois Truffaut as Francis of Assisi, testifying to the perennial nature of the temptation to pride or anger, gluttony or sloth. We succumb to them over and over partly, says the author quoting Jorge Luis Borges, because "our minds are porous with forgetfulness." With the widespread adoption of the Revised Common Lectionary, topical preaching--on the creed, the ten commandments, the beatitudes--has fallen out of use. Thus the even greater need for a book like The Seven Perennial Sins. Without ever moralizing, by means of anecdote and story, the book provides a serious, but often amusing, account of the dark side of the human comedy.

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More About Ken Bazyn

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Ken Bazyn is Editorial Director of the Religious Book Club. He has edited two anthologies, The Best of Paul Tournier and You and Your. He has also published over 80 articles in periodicals such as Commonweal and Dialog.

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Product Categories
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > Ethics   [884  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Tell me what you think  Dec 18, 2006
Bazyn's next project should be a ransom note. This was a collection of quotes taken from other writers, pieced together, and presented as a book. I don't think there was a single paragraph that did not have a quote. It is one thing to use quotes to support your work, or to provide examples. It is entirely different, and unacceptable, for an author to use quotes to make all of the author's points.

Good premise. Poor product. Disappointing.
An Excellent, Thoughtful Book  Nov 6, 2006
I was pleased with my purchase. The books arrived in excellent condition and in a timely manner. Thank You.
Recommended  Aug 4, 2004
A very well written and insightful book. Bazyn uses an impressive number of examples from the Bible, other sacred texts, and literature, to make his points. Because of this, the book might seem overwhelming to someone who is not well-read. On the other hand, Bazyn's writing is accessible and easy to understand. The book offers good and practical advice for living a better life. My only disappointments were one or two isolated comments by Bazyn which I feel downplay the evil of abortion.
Nothing New Under the Sun  Jan 1, 2004
King Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes that there is nothing new under the sun. All that has come before will come again. Whenever we think we've uncovered something new about ourselves or the world, all we need do is look to history to set us straight.

Ken Bazyn, editorial director of the Religious Book Club, offers an insightful look at history in The Seven Perennial Sins and Their Offspring. In this readable, yet intricate work, he gives us a literary, religious and philosophical perspective on the seven "perennial" or "root-sins": pride, envy, anger, avarice (greed), lust, gluttony and sloth (apathy). While the very idea of sin has fallen out of fashion--as pointed out to me by a colleague who once remarked that "sin is a Western concept"--we see it in action every day.

Bazyn masterfully examines how writers, theologians and philosophers viewed each perennial sin and its "offspring" or variation. Each of the seven is at the root of all others. For example, murder is not listed as one of the seven because it is not a root-sin; it may arise from anger or avarice or envy or all seven.

As an English major, I appreciated Bazyn's liberal use of literary examples to illustrate the recurring theme. He states at the outset that literature "has a pleasing indirectness that catches us unawares" and that stories help us to "flesh out abstract principles and imprint them on our memories." Just as Jesus Christ's parables reflected what was in men's hearts, stories can hold up a mirror that reflects our own nature.
From such literary characters as Jay Gatsby, Bartleby the Scrivener, Dr. Jekyll, and a host of Biblical figures, Bazyn shows how each perennial sin manifests itself in their tortured lives. He quotes such men as Nietzsche, Kant, St. Augustine and C.S. Lewis, and refers to historical events such as the French Revolution and the Vietnam War to build an overarching theme of how human fallacies plague us all. While Bazyn's book is an excellent study of history and literature, I found myself relishing passages of his own original thoughts and wished he'd used more of a balance in technique.

The Seven Perennial Sins and Their Offspring makes reference to many forgotten stories once read in high school and college, ones that gave us metaphors to "help us cope with life's complexities and contradictions," Bazyn writes. Public school educators in America would be wise to return to the study of great literature and Western culture. In the twenty-first century, moral relativism has all but eroded the concept of sin. Some redefine it; others deny it. Ken Bazyn reiterates throughout his book that sin is a deep-rooted, unchanging, universal and permanent condition of man. We would do well to call it what it is.

King Solomon tells us that no one on earth is free from sin. What, then, is our hope? "Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man." A perennial solution to a perennial problem.

© 2003 La Shawn Barber
Originally published on


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