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(Gr. akemdia, “negligence”). Used in both the Septuagint (Isa. 61:3) and in Cicero (Att. xii:45) in its basic meaning, it later also became a technical term for the mental prostration, induced by fasting and bodily discipline, experienced by hermits, monks, and recluses. As such it is described by Cassian (360-435) in his Institutes and by medieval writers such as Aquinas. The word has, however, commonly been used to describe the fourth cardinal sin and is thus a synonym for sloth and sluggishness. As a description of a spiritual condition it was given a new lease of life in the English-speaking world by F. Francis, bishop of Oxford, because of his treatment of it in The Spirit of Discipline (1891).

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