Lester Little, Anger in Monastic Cursing Essay

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In Lester Little's, "Anger in Monastic Curses," we see how, through liturgical cursing, monks can express a form of anger that is acceptable and appropriate for monastic culture. This form of anger does not undermine monks' religious status in the feuding and vengeful culture of this time. Liturgical cursing is used to formulate emotions of anger in a way that is appropriate for monastic culture to participate in. In Aelred of Rievaulx's, Spiritual Friendship, we see a similar scenario in which Aelred seeks to find an appropriate form of friendship for monks to engage in, apart from the not virtuous version that aristocratic culture practices. Both forms of anger and friendship seek to not undermine monastic culture and status. While …show more content…
Anger, being unavoidable in some cases, needed to be redesigned so that monks could express their feelings of anger in a virtuous way. Little explains, "The standard view of anger developed by Christian theologians distinguished between a vice that was self-indulgent and could be recklessly destructive and a righteous zeal that could marshal passion and thus focus energy to fight constructively against evil (Little, 12)." This passage seeks to provide reason for liturgical cursing to be useful. Anger could be used for combating evil, and thus, is virtuous and acceptable in monastic culture. In Little's explanation of liturgical curses as speech acts, he explains how there are guidelines to appropriate forms of liturgical cursing. Little provides an excerpt by John L. Austin's, explaining the conditions for proper cursing that have to be met, that reads, "The first of these is that there be a generally accepted, conventional procedure for the type of utterance in question. The second is that the persons and circumstances involved be appropriate for its invocation. And the third is that the performer of the procedure be in the proper frame of mind for carrying it out. The lack of any of these requisite conditions gives an infelicitous result" (Little, Austin, 28). Little later explains that since Christian holy hierarchy had so much influence during