Concupiscence from latin: con-, with + cupi, cupid - desire (usually sexual) + -escere - suffix denoting beginning of a process or state. Modern definitions tend towards an ardent, usually sensuous, longing; a strong sexual desire or lust. In Christian theology, concupiscence is selfish human desire for an object, person, or experience. Although the idea of concupiscence is Latin in origin, it has been co-opted and our understanding of it has been developed by Christianity." For Christians, concupiscence refers to what they understand as the orientation, inclination or innate tendency of human beings to do evil (in the sense of fleshly appetites) - the soul always searches for the truth. "Concupiscence" is derived from the Latin word concupiscentia, meaning "an intense desire".
There are nine occurrences of the word in the Douay-Rheims Bible: Wisdom 4:12, Romans 7:7, Romans 7:8, Colossians 3:5, Epistle of James 1:14, James 1:15, 2 Peter 1:4, and 1 John 2:17.
There are three occurrences of the word in the King James Bible: Romans 7:8, Colossians 3:5 and I Thessalonians 4:5.
"Concupiscence" is the English translation of the Koine Greek epithumia (ἐπιθυμία). Epithumia occurs 38 times in the New Testament: Mark 4:19, Luke 22:15, John 8:44, Romans 1:24, Romans 6:12, Romans 7:7,8, Romans 13:14, Galatians 5:16,24, Ephesians 2:3, Ephesians 4:22, Philippians 1:23, Colossians 3:5, 1 Thessalonians 2:17, 1 Thessalonians 4:5, 1 Timothy 6:9, 2 Timothy 2:22, 2 Timothy 3:6, 2 Timothy 4:3, Titus 2:12, Titus 3:3, James 1:14,15, 1 Peter 1:14, 1 Peter 2:11, 1 Peter 4:2,3, 2 Peter 1:4, 2 Peter 2:10,18, 2 Peter 3:3, 1 John 2:16,17, Jude 1:16,18, Revelation 18:14. The word "epithumia" is variously translated: desire, longing, lust, passion, covetousness, impulses, concupiscence.
Catholic and Protestant Beliefs about Concupiscence
The primary difference between Catholic theology and the most of the many different Protestant theologies on the issue of concupiscence is whether it can be classified as sin by its own nature. Different Protestant denominations tend to see concupiscence as sin itself, an act of the sinner. The Catholic Church teaches that while it is highly likely to cause sin, concupiscence is not sin itself. Rather, it is "the tinder for sin" which "cannot harm those who do not consent" (CCC 1264).
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