Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Seven Deadly Sins - The Series

I've just finished listening to the last in the series on the Seven Deadly Sins produced by The Spirit of Things. Overall, I found it a little repetitive, until the last one on sloth.

The first six took the same form, in which the deadly sin was reinterpreted in the Anglosphere context and watered down until it became like something close to enjoyable. Lust became a lust for life, or a lust for one's partner. The others were much the same. Take the deadly sin, recontextualise it and now it doesn't look so bad.

For sloth, however, one of the guests at least had the courage to keep it in its original context. Sloth was differentiated from relaxing or recharging. Slothfulness was viewed as the bad thing it is, and not brought so close to rest as to be synonymous. This was a good move, and guided the whole of the conversation. The value of rest was praised without detracting from the condemnation of sloth.

Overall, this is a lesson for anyone taking a text across time, culture and language. It takes a lot of work to even begin to understand what a text meant to its original audience and to its author. Without acknowledging that, the reader is making a new reading. A new reading is a valuable exercise, for sure, but it has to be acknowledged as such.
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