Passions, Affections, or Emotions? On the Ambiguity of 16th-Century Terminology

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13 Citations (Scopus)


The history of emotions is notably fraught with semantic anxiety, and a great deal of ink has been spilt in attempts to clarify emotion terminology, with respect to both historical and contemporary usage. Because the 16th century is both a momentous time of linguistic change for European languages (including Latin), and often for some reason neglected by historians of emotion trying to tell a longer story about emotion terminology, this article provides an overview of how 16th-century lexicons and prominent humanist authors handle the basic Latin emotion terms affectus and passio. It suggests further that 16th-century usage confounds
Thomas Dixon’s assertion that “classical Christian” usage consists of a generally firm distinction between the two terms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-374
Number of pages8
JournalEmotion Review
Issue number4
Early online date2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


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