David KonstanJul 28, 2022
The Origin of Sin
Greece and Rome, Early Judaism and Christianity
Where did the idea of sin arise from? In The Origin of Sin: Greece and Rome, Early Judaism and Christianity (Bloomsbury, 2022), David Konstan takes a close look at classical Greek and Roman texts, as well as the Bible and early Judaic and Christian writings. He argues that the fundamental idea of “sin” arose in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, although this original meaning was obscured in later Jewish and Christian interpretations.
Through close philological examination of the words for “sin,” in particular the Hebrew hata’ and the Greek hamartia, he traces their uses over the centuries in four chapters and concludes that the common modern definition of sin as a violation of divine law indeed has antecedents in classical Greco-Roman conceptions, but acquired a wholly different sense in the Hebrew Bible and New Testament.
Tiatemsu Longkumer is a Ph.D. scholar working on ‘Anthropology of Religion’ at North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong: India