Dr. Wayne Baker is traveling this summer and is noticing the news stories about James Bond’s 50th Anniversary celebration this autumn. What is the biggest news about Bond in 2012? Is it the new 007 men’s fragrance? The new all-Bond TV channel launching in the UK? The expensive new “Bond 50” boxed set of 22 films plus a commemorative book?
No, the biggest news concerns Bond’s values. Specifically, Ian Fleming’s lifelong interest in the classic 7 Deadly Sins as well as 7 Even Deadlier Sins that Fleming personified in the James Bond novels. This week, Dr. Baker welcomes the literary scholar and pastoral counselor, Dr. Benjamin Pratt, who has documented the Deadlier Sins that are the keys to Fleming’s original Bond novels.
Here is Dr. Pratt’s first column …
Ian Fleming made no secret about his purpose in writing the James Bond novels—but the world’s obsession with Bond’s exotic villains, beautiful women and spectacular international locations left the novelist’s deeper intentions largely forgotten until I published my book, explaining the author’s original themes and declared: “The code is broken. 007, James Bond (a.k.a. Saint George) is out to slay the seven deadlier evils we face in our society and in ourselves.”
It’s all true. Fleming was foreign editor of The Times of London and convinced some of Britain’s top authors to publish a now-out-of-print book about the 7 Deadly Sins. Reflecting on the work of these writers, Fleming wrote that none of those old sins would keep a person out of heaven, anymore. For example, we celebrate Greed in the contemporary world.
So, Fleming created his list of 7 Deadlier Sins and explored them in one Bond novel after another. He liked to refer to James Bond as St. George, making the point that he was a dragon slayer on an epic scale. In Casino Royale, the first James Bond novel, Fleming clearly explains that these stories would be “parables, proverbs and folklore about evil people.” At the end of this novel James Bond defines his own mission. He would not be a spy, but “he would go after the threat behind the spies. The threat that made them spy.”
Fleming’s point was that these evils are not alive in criminals—but inside each of us.
HERE ARE THE CLASSIC SEVEN DEADLY SINS …
ACCIDIE (often listed as Sloth)
COVETOUSNESS (often listed as Greed)
IN YOUR COMMENT TODAY, GUESS WHICH 1 OF THE 7 FLEMING RETAINED.
WHICH OF THESE SINS ARE CELEBRATED TODAY?
CAN YOU GUESS ANY OF FLEMING’S 7 DEADLIER SINS?
Come back each day this week as we reveal and talk about Fleming’s Deadlier Sins.
And please, take a moment to leave a Comment below.
Originally published at www.OurValues.org, an experiment in civil dialogue about American values.