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Emotion and Peace of MindFrom Stoic Agitation to Christian Temptation$
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Richard Sorabji

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199256600

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199256600.001.0001

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From First Movements To the Seven Cardinal Sins Evagrius

From First Movements To the Seven Cardinal Sins Evagrius

(p.357) 23 From First Movements To the Seven Cardinal Sins Evagrius
Emotion and Peace of Mind

Richard Sorabji (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Evagrius (4th century CE Christian) found himself as desert hermit assailed by the eight involuntary bad thoughts of gluttony, lust, avarice, distress, anger boredom (akêdia), vanity (concern with others' opinions), and pride (belief in self-sufficiency). These evolved into the seven cardinal sins, but they were not yet sins nor emotions, only temptations. It was up to us whether they turned into emotions or lingered. Like Origen, he pictures the bad thoughts sometimes being presented by crafty demons who know how innocent thoughts can be used to lead to bad ones. In the counter-attack, one must notice in what sequences thoughts come, the timings of the bad ones, and how thoughts of lust and vanity can repel each other, or conquest of gluttony defeat lust. We need to know which thought is helped, which inflamed, by leaving one's cell. Thus, we may progress towards the Stoic goal of apatheia.

Keywords:   bad thoughts, demons, apatheia, boredom, vanity, pride, lust, gluttony

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