For ‘Physitians of the Soule’: The roles of ‘flight’ and ‘hatred of abomination’ in Thomas Wright’s The Passions of the Minde in Generall

Richard Firth-Godbehere

Abstract


This article attempts to understand how Thomas Wright’s 1604 work, The Passions of the Minde in Generall, might have fitted into his overall mission as an English Catholic preacher, particularly when read via Wright’s understanding of Thomas Aquinas’s passion of fuga seu abominatio. Some historians claim that Wright was a controversialist, previously describing The Passions as either a radical departure from Wright’s mission, or the work of a different Thomas Wright. Earlier attempts to find a missionary element within The Passions have been inadequate. Through a close reading of The Passions, specifically analysing Wright'ʹs interpretation of fuga seu abominatio within the context of Wright’s intended readership, the main message of The Passions, and his background, this article suggests a possible reading of the text as a work aimed specifically at fellow English Catholics. To Wright, the passions of hatred of abomination and flight or detestation, derived primarily from Aquinas’s fuga seu abominatio, were not simply a form of disgust, as often assumed, but the potential worldly or otherworldly harm that someone we love, such as a neighbour, might face from the abominable evil of sin and damnation. By linking hatred of abomination, flight or detestation, and Wright’s particular view of sin together, Wright was teaching English Catholics how these passions might be used to cure diseased souls, turning the work into a guide for preaching. 


Keywords


history of emotions; Thomas Wright; The Passions of the Minde; The Passions of the Minde in Generall; seventeenth century England; passions; fuga seu abomination; hatred of abomination; flight; English Catholicism; Thomas Aquinas; preaching

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