I might add that superbia isn't the most egregious sin only in the middle ages, but in our day as well.
Sigrid Undset later explained that Kristin's greatest sin is not the fact that she succumbs to her sexual desires and yields to the amorous demands of her impetuous suitor before they are properly married. Of much greater import is Kristin's decision to thwart her father's wishes, to deny the traditions of her ancestors, and to defy the Church; her worst sin is that of pride. The scholar Marlene Ciklamini notes that 'in medieval times the most egregious sin was superbia, or pride, setting oneself up as the arbiter of things human and divine, or, to express it another way, loving oneself more than God.' Kristin's constant struggle to integrate a sense of spiritual humility into her strong and passionate nature underlies much of the dramatic tension in all three volumes of the novel.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
From the Introduction to Tiina Nunnally's translation of Kristin Lavransdatter: