Item description for The Early History of Greed: The Sin of Avarice in Early Medieval Thought and Literature (Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature) by Richard Newhauser, Alastair Minnis & Patrick Boyde...
The history of avarice as the deadliest vice in western Europe has been said to begin in earnest only with the rise of capitalism or, earlier, the rise of a money economy. In this study of the early history of greed, Richard Newhauser shows that avaritia, the sin of greed for possessions, has a much longer history, and is more important for an understanding of the Middle Ages, than has previously been allowed. His examination of theological and literary texts composed between the 1st century CE and the 10th century reveals new significance in the portrayal of various kinds of greed, to the extent that by the early Middle Ages avarice was available to head the list of vices for authors engaged in the task of converting others from pagan materialism to Christian spirituality.
Citations And Professional Reviews The Early History of Greed: The Sin of Avarice in Early Medieval Thought and Literature (Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature) by Richard Newhauser, Alastair Minnis & Patrick Boyde has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Reference and Research Bk News - 11/01/2000 page 7
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Studio: Cambridge University Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.24" Width: 6.24" Height: 0.73" Weight: 1.09 lbs.
Release Date Jun 26, 2004
Publisher Cambridge University Press
ISBN 0521385229 ISBN13 9780521385220
Availability 128 units. Availability accurate as of Oct 26, 2016 09:23.
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More About Richard Newhauser, Alastair Minnis & Patrick Boyde
Richard Newhauser was born in 1947.
Richard Newhauser has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about The Early History of Greed: The Sin of Avarice in Early Medieval Thought and Literature (Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature)?
Implications for Today Unmistakable... Feb 6, 2008
Although I had not previously been aware of the historical debate over when and how concern about the human frailty known as avarice entered into western thought, my uneducated guess would have been that it probably happened well before the arrival of the money economy. The human propensity for greed seems to be something that was likely second in arriving into human behavior, once man acquired the ability to conceive of his own death. But of course there are no historical records back that far. But for those who doubt such a claim, Richard Newhauser has scoured the existing historical record to successfully prove his claim that avarita certainly pre-dated the arrival of money.
The most fascinating aspect of this study are the unmistakable consequences of the sin that, despite all the efforts of those in the early church (later church as well) to prevent it, greed has thrived as a human trait and continues to do so. Interestingly, the wealth accumulated over and above the minimum necessary might be best illustrated by the wealth accumulated by the Catholic Church itself.
Certainly, the arrival of money economies didn't hurt man's propensity to hoard. But Newhauser not only shows us records of concern about creed all the way back to 1 CE, but includes slices of many prominent chuch thinkers who were already bargaining with the idea in order that possessions above and beyond what was necessary to live might be permitted - most notably when the nobility or wealthy wielded power in the immediate vicinity. I guess not much has changed since then.
I became aware that, despite the early as well as later efforts by the church, it has failed to control greed in western societies even while demonizing it and collecting enormous amounts of surplus wealth itself.