Temptation

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Capital representing scenes from the Book of Genesis: temptation of Adam and Eve, Musée de Cluny.

Temptation is the desire to perform an action that one may enjoy immediately or in the short term but will probably later regret for various reasons: legal, social, psychological (including feeling guilt), health-related, economic, etc. In the context of religion, temptation is the inclination to sin. Temptation also describes the coaxing or inducing a person into committing such an act, by manipulation or otherwise of curiosity, desire or fear of loss.

More informally, temptation may be used to mean "the state of being attracted and enticed" without anything to do with moral, ethical, or ideological valuation; for example, one may say that a piece of food looks "tempting" even though eating it would result in no negative consequences.

Religious usage[edit]

Temptation has implications deeply rooted in Judaism and the The Old Testament, starting with the story of Eve and the original sin. Many non-Western cultures had no precise equivalent until coming into contact with Europeans.[citation needed] For example, Jesuit missionaries in Brazil, translating the Lord's Prayer into Old Tupi, had to use the Portuguese word tentação, since Tupi had no word expressing "temptation" in that sense (see Old Tupi language#Sample text).[citation needed]

In the text of the Lord's Prayer, the King James Version uses "temptation" to translate the Greek word πειρασμός peirasmos.[1] This word has nothing to do with "temptation" with moral-ethical or spiritual-eschatological overtones. It is simply "being put to test", referring to a situation in which a person is challenged to keep the name of God honored (a reprise of the text in Matthew 6:9).[citation needed]

Non-religious usage[edit]

Temptation is usually used in a loose sense to describe actions which indicate a lack of self control. Temptation is a common recurring theme in world literature. Temptation has repercussions for even the strongest.[citation needed] "Temptation" is something that allures, excites, and seduces someone. Infatuation can also lead to temptation as someone might do something for love in spite of one's better judgement.

In advertising, "temptation" is a theme common to many of the marketing and advertising techniques used to make products more attractive.

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