Chapter

Invisible Sin

Brian Murdoch

in Gregorius

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199596409
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745737 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199596409.003.0007
Invisible Sin

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This chapter looks again at the Gregorius-story in terms of original sin and the inborn propensity to sin (as explained by Augustine), and of actual sin (in the Genesis-interpretation by Gregory the Great). Gregorius is never a cult saint and only rarely proposed as an intercessor, but the message of the story remains across the centuries and the different versions and cultures: that sin is inevitable, but can be coped with by repentance and grace, as long as there is no desperatio, despair of ever being forgiven. Gregorius is, in spite of the invisible sin of incest, not an Oedipus-figure but an Everyman. He cannot avoid sin, which in his case is incurred rather than deserved, though there are always ambiguities, but his extreme sin leads to ultimate glory. Against his extreme but forgiven sin the audience may set its own less serious sins.

Keywords: sin; original sin; desperatio; everyman; repentance; forgiveness; Augustine; Gregory the Great

Chapter.  6322 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

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