The Seven Deadly Sins


Of the seven deadly sins, pride is the only one with a virtuous side. It is certainly a good thing to have pride in one's country, in one's community, in oneself. But when taken too far, as Michael Eric Dyson shows in Pride, these virtues become deadly sins.Dyson, named by Ebony magazine as one of the 100 most influential African Americans, here looks at the many dimensions of pride. Ranging from Augustine and Aquinas, MacIntyre and Hauerwas, to Niebuhr and King, Dyson offers a thoughtful, multifaceted look at this "virtuous vice." He probes the philosophical and theological roots of pride in examining its transformation in Western culture. Dyson discusses how black pride keeps blacks from being degraded and excluded by white pride, which can be invisible, unspoken, but nonetheless very powerful. Dyson also offers a moving glimpse into the teachers and books that shaped his personal pride and vocation. Dyson also looks at less savory aspects of national pride. Since 9/11, he notes, we have had to close ranks. But the collective embrace of all things American, to the exclusion of anything else, has taken the place of a much richer, much more enduring, much more profound version of love of country. This unchecked pride asserts the supremacy of America above all others--elevating our national beliefs above any moral court in the world--and attacking critics of American foreign policy as unpatriotic and even traitorous.Hubris, temerity, arrogance--the unquestioned presumption that one's way of life defines how everyone else should live--pride has many destructive manifestations. In this engaging and energetic volume, Michael Eric Dyson, one of the nation's foremost public intellectuals, illuminates this many-sided human emotion, one that can be an indispensable virtue or a deadly sin.
  • Oxford University Press; February 2006
  • ISBN 9780198036470
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure EPUB format
  • Title: Pride
  • Author: Michael Eric Dyson
  • Imprint: Oxford University Press

In The Press

"An excellent essay on pride in its various dimensions."--Booklist
"Pride isn't what it used to be, and by the time Michael Eric Dyson gets through with the subject, many of the philosophers who have opined on the subject will realize they have less to be proud of than they thought. The 'deadly sin' turns out to have its virtues, and Dyson is eloquent in rooting them in his own vividly-recounted experience." --James J. O'Donnell, Provost, Georgetown University, and author of Augustine: A New Biography
"Dyson examines pride in its many iterations, invoking pop culture icons and events to lend accessibility to a potentially didactic subject.... Dyson's discussions of 'personal pride,' 'white pride,' 'black pride' and 'national pride' are thoughtful and exhibit a fine balance of scholarship and philosophizing.... Readers already familiar with the 'sins' series will welcome this final volume, as will those interested in issues of race."--Publishers Weekly
"Whimsically packaged exminations of Lust by Simon Blackburn, Gluttony by Francine Prsoe, Envy by Joseph Epstein, Anger by Robert Thurman, Greed by Phyllis Tickle, Sloth by Wendy Wasserstein and Pride by Michael Eric Dyson become playgrounds for cultural reflection by authors and playwrights in Oxford's Seven Deadly Sins series."--Publishers Weekly (on the series)

About The Author

Michael Eric Dyson is Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities, and Professor of Religious Studies and Africana Studies, at the University of Pennsylvania. An ordained Baptist minister, he is the author of twelve books, including the New York Times bestselling Is Bill Cosby Right? Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind? and Mercy, Mercy Me: The Art, Loves, and Demons of Marvin Gaye, as well as Holler If You Hear Me: Searching for Tupac Shakur. He is a contributing editor at Christian Century.