Grasping. Avarice. Covetousness. Miserliness. Insatiable cupidity. Overreaching ambition. Desire spun out of control. The deadly sin of Greed goes by many names, appears in many guises, and wreaks havoc on individuals and nations alike.
In this lively and generous book, Phyllis A. Tickle argues that Greed is "the Matriarch of the Deadly Clan," the ultimate source of Pride, Envy, Sloth, Gluttony, Lust, and Anger. She shows that the major faiths, from Hinduism and Taoism to Buddhism and Christianity regard Greed as the greatest calamity humans can indulge in, engendering further sins and eviscerating all virtues. As the Sikh holy book Adi Granth asks: "Where there is greed, what love can there be?" Tickle takes a long view of Greed, from St. Paul to the present, focusing particularly on changing imaginative representations of Greed in Western literature and art. Looking at such works as the Psychomachia, or "Soul Battle" of the fifth-century poet Aurelius Clemens Prudentius, the paintings of Peter Bruegel and Hieronymous Bosch, the 1987 film Wall Street, and the contemporary Italian artist Mario Donizetti, Tickle shows how our perceptions have evolved from the medieval understanding of Greed as a spiritual enemy to a nineteenth-century sociological construct to an early twentieth-century psychological deficiency, and finally to a new view, powerfully articulated in Donizettis mystical paintings, of Greed as both tragic and beautiful.
Engaging, witty, brilliantly insightful, Greed explores the full range of this deadly sins subtle, chameleon-like qualities, and the enormous destructive power it wields, evidenced all too clearly in the world today.
Phyllis Tickle has been reporting on religion for Publishers Weekly for many years and is currently Contributing Editor in Religion for the journal. One of the most respected authorities and popular speakers on religion in America today, she is frequently quoted and interviewed both in print media, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, and Time, and in electronic media, such as CNN, C-SPAN, BBC, and "Voice of America." She appears frequently on the Odyssey Channel and is a regular guest on PBS's "Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly." She is the author of over two dozen books, including the recently published God-Talk in America. She lives in the rural community of Lucy, Tennessee.
Dont be misled by the format of this book. What youre holding is not a decaf caramel macchiatoits a triple espresso, a little book with a big wallop...
- John Wilson, Editor, Books & Culture
"Tickles thoughtfulness and scholarship will make readers avaricious and leave them wanting more."
- Publishers Weekly
"Tickle gives the reader such an apt big picture glimpse into our world and its history that her words could serve as the perfect introduction for the entire series. She then persuasively argues that greed is the ultimate source of all the sins, because the root of greed is desire spun out of control."
- Library Journal