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Sin: Radical Evil in Soul and Society Paperback – October 21, 1998


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Paperback, October 21, 1998
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 348 pages
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock Pub (October 21, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157910181X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579101817
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,268,048 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Peters (theology, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary) discusses sin from the perspective of its progressive development into radical evil through seven steps--anxiety, unfaith, pride, concupiscence, self-justification, cruelty, and blasphemy--suggestive of but not identical to the classic seven deadly sins. His presentation is distinguished by its contemporary considerations and his inclusion of the way individual sins may develop a life--or rather a death--of their own and become social evil. Peters is alert to self-righteous sins of projection and scapegoating as well as to their opposites. A wonderful book for committed lay readers and social critics as well as clergy. Highly recommended.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

After noting the increase in reports of satanic rituals, Peters began studying events leading to heinous acts of human brutality and sacrifice. In doing so, however, Peters found the need to look at the phenomenon of satanism within the broader context of sin and the workings of the soul. The result is a seven-step journey to what Peters calls radical evil. According to Peters, all humans are capable of extreme sin. Beginning with anxiety, which predisposes one to "unfaith" or a lack of trust in God, sin then progresses to pride, concupiscence, covetousness, self-justification, and cruelty. Cruelty cultivates the soul for the most radical of all evils, blasphemy, which Peters defines as employing divine symbols in order to dishonor God or to prevent others from benefiting from God's love and salvation. The remedy for sin, according to Peters, is to allow God's grace to transform anxiety into peace, unfaith into trust, pride into humility, and concupiscence into charity, thus leaving no doors open to cruelty and blasphemy. Although theologically profound, Peters' book is highly readable and a relevant contribution to religious studies. Patty O'Connell --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Richard on May 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
Using 7 classic categories of sin, Peters presents a riveting autopsy on the growing body of evidence that sin and evil are nothing to mess with. To the surprise of many "enlightened" modern people, sin is not dead. Left unconfessed and unforgiven, sin can grow cancerously until it destroys not only its own body, but others as well.
Peters' scholarship and theology is of the highest integrity. He also has the rare gift of putting flesh on his ideas--he speaks clearly, directly, and in language we can grasp.
The categories of evil may seem "outmoded", but Peters exegetes them in a way that seems alarmingly contemporary. In progression from least to greatest, Peters offers the following classic forms of sin leading to "radical evil":
1)Anxiety; 2) Unfaith; 3) Pride; 4) Concupiscence; 5)Self-justification; 6) Cruelty; 7) Blasphemy.
Number 7, "Blasphemy", may seem over-reactive, but Peters makes his case about the seriousness that blasphemy, finally, is the most treacherous of all evils. (His description of "concupiscence" is one that moderns should especially know!)
This book never got the attention it deserves. Peters has written a theological work that may well be unparalled in the field of books on "Sin and Evil."
Thanks, Ted.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sten-Erik Armitage on March 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
Lutheran theologian Ted Peters takes us on an exploration of the concept of sin and evil in his book Sin: Radical Evil in Soul and Society. Dr. Peters currently serves as a Professor of Systematic Theology at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary. He is also co-editor of the scholarly journal of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, Theology and Science. Well known for his research and study of the New Age movement and ecumenicalism, Dr. Peters delves deeper into the issue of depravity and the road that leads to evil.

In this book, Dr. Peters defines radical evil as evil that is pursued in the name of evil. It is a deliberate evil, consciously pursued for its own sake. Dr. Peters proposes that this does not simply just "happen", but rather there is a progression of sin that leads to such an extreme radical evil.

There is a chapter devoted to each of the seven steps that ultimately lead to radical evil, or blasphemy. This is not necessarily laid out as a chronological progression, but rather one of degrees. Dr. Peters begins with anxiety. Although he says that in and of itself, anxiety is not a sin, it opens the door to the next step, which is unfaith. The progression then moves from unfaith to pride, concupiscence, self-justification, cruelty, and finally blasphemy.

Each of these chapters is full of excellent analysis, warnings and scriptural support as to how each of these steps manifest, and how they can ultimately lead to the next step in the progression to radical evil. In the final step Dr. Peters examines two flavors of blasphemy. The first is labeled "covert blasphemy". It is essentially a subtle form of hypocrisy that usurps the goodness of God and ultimately tarnishes His reputation.
The second flavor of blasphemy that Dr.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Illinois Country Parson on March 16, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My Wednesday adult discussion group at our Florida church, where we spend the winter, used this book for our Lenten discussions. I found the book interesting and a good read. Peters uses a large number of anecdotes to discuss the various ways one can be led into sin and evil. Some are, to my mind, a bit of a stretch, but they were West's choice and I won't criticize him for them. What did surprise me was the number of people in the discussion group that found the book to be "a difficult read" because of West's terminology and reasoning. These are people from across the Church political spectrum - from deeply conservative to very progressive. In the end I find myself coming to the conclusion that the deep lack of theological sophistication on the part of far too many lay people may have become a block to them. What is not easily understood or in sympathy with one's experience or prior beliefs is not easily comprehended. As a priest, with some theological education, I found the book a nice challenge for my Lenten reading. I would suggest that a book like West's could be used very easily by a group that has been lead into theological reasoning. In the Episcopal Church, in which I priest, I have used the church's Teaching Series to accomplish this and, by the time I retired from full time ministry, had developed a core of about ten people (in a church of about 50) that could handle a challenge like that posed by Ted West in "Sin."
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ted Peters has written a very thoughtful, very insightful book on what is a difficult topic. Difficult, because most people don't connect the word, which is used in the church quite frequently, with themselves. Sin is something that someone else does. Peters reminds us of our sin, while plumbing the depths of its various aspects. This is a great book on a difficult topic. Recommended.
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Sin: Radical Evil in Soul and Society
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