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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. IX:
John of Damascus: Exposition of the Orthodox Faith.: Concerning Anger.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XVI.—Concerning Anger.

Anger is the ebullition 1828 of the heart’s blood 1829 produced by bilious exhalation or turbidity. Hence it is that the words χολή and χόλος 1830 are both used in the sense of anger. Anger is sometimes lust for vengeance. For when we are wronged or think that we are wronged, we are distressed, and there arises this mixture of desire and anger.

There are three forms of anger: rage, which the Greeks also call χολή or χόλος, μῆνις and κότος. When anger arises and begins to be roused, it is called rage or χολή or χόλος. Wrath again implies that the bile endures, that is to say, that the memory of the wrong abides: and indeed the Greek word for it, μῆνις is derived from μένειν, and means what abides and is transferred to memory. Rancour, on the other hand, implies watching for a suitable moment for revenge, and the Greek word for it is κότος from κεῖσθαι.

Anger further is the satellite of reason, the vindicator of desire. For when we long after anything and are opposed in our desire by some one, we are angered at that person, as though we had been wronged: and reason evidently deems that there are just grounds for displeasure in what has happened, in the p. 34b case of those who, like us, have in the natural course of things to guard their own position.


Footnotes

33b:1828

ζέσις, boiling.

33b:1829

τοῦ περὶ καρδίαν αἵματος, the blood about the heart.

33b:1830

Nemes., ch. 21.


Next: Concerning Imagination.

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