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1. Philosophy
a. any state of the mind in which it is affected by something external, such as perception, desire, etc., as contrasted with action
b. feelings, desires or emotions, as contrasted with reason
2. the sufferings and death of a Christian martyr


1. the sufferings of Christ from the Last Supper to his death on the cross
2. any of the four Gospel accounts of this
3. a musical setting of this
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a musical work set to a Gospel text of Jesus’ betrayal by Judas, imprisonment, and execution. Passions were introduced into Catholic practice in the fourth century and were performed during Holy Week. They were originally performed in a psalmodic manner, but, beginning in the 14th century, the type of passion based on a dialogue between a soloist, or deacon, and a choir prevailed. The roles of the characters in the drama gradually became more soloistic. In the 16th century the polyphonic motet passion took shape, and Protestant passions in German appeared, which made considerable use of the Protestant chorale. Folk stagings of passions, in which scenes of everyday life were included, developed simultaneously with the ecclesiastical dramatizations.

In the early 18th century the oratorio passion became established. This genre later lost its religious significance, and oratorio passions were performed as concert works. Outstanding examples of the oratorio passion are J. S. Bach’s St. John Passion and St. Matthew Passion.


Druskin, M. Passiony I. S. Bakha. Leningrad, 1972.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
To note the curious hard logic of passion, and the emotional coloured life of the intellect--to observe where they met, and where they separated, at what point they were in unison, and at what point they were at discord--there was a delight in that!
The pulse and passion of youth were in him, but he was becoming self-conscious.
From exchanging glances, they advance to acts of courtesy, of gallantry, then to fiery passion, to plighting troth and marriage.
They resign each other without complaint to the good offices which man and woman are severally appointed to discharge in time, and exchange the passion which once could not lose sight of its object, for a cheerful, disengaged furtherance, whether present or absent, of each other's designs.
"What all of these individuals have in common is that their passions went awry because of an incessant focus on results, results, results.When the results weren't meeting their exceedingly high expectations, they turned to unethical behaviour to close the gap.
STB won the award for its Passion Made Possible campaign which centered on sharing Singapore's spirit and story to inspire Filipino travelers to pursue their own passions in the city-state.
At 2.5.1105b26-28, passions are described as being felt well when they are felt "intermediately." In a similar vein, several of Aristotle's descriptions of virtue state that it "aims at the mean in passion and action." (6) For the sake of illustration, consider the passion of anger.
Les passions de Fame: on obsessive and harmonious passion.
who are aging, as Wagner says, "With passion and purpose." This striking black and white portrait series, "The Passions Project," transcends visual concepts of what aging in America looks like, and Wagner's mission goes beyond creating captivating images: She seeks to completely redefine our ideas about what it means to get older.
The personal passion inquiry is powerful beyond the data it produces; it helps some students discover hidden passions while prompting all students to reflect on their individual passions each year.
I would say this about the "St John'' and "St Matthew Passions,'' as well as the B Minor Mass, which the Chorus sang a few years ago.