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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



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.
References in periodicals archive ?
A third possibility is that the passions may influence reason by causing a certain "promptness" of action because passions heighten one's motivation in acting.
A Passion for Democracy: American Essays, by Benjamin Barber, Princeton:
Recent historical literature has been solicitous in pointing out that among the early monastic orders of the fourth to the eleventh centuries, regimens to tame the passions were employed that directly impinged upon the human physiological system.
The Passions Project evolved through Wagner's work in a community of elders in Boulder, Colorado wherein the photographer came to realize that many of the people she was getting to know led active lives in which their various passions and interests play a central role — activities that bring joy, but perhaps go unnoticed by those in the community at large.
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.
This collection brings together essays on the study of the history of the passions in early modern culture (especially England).
We invite you to discover the top five things that matter most to you by taking a short version of the quiz in our book, The Passion Test.
So if you ever feel those passions rising, remember that even in legal terms a "crime of passion" is described as temporary insanity, which should be a warning to us all.
Anthony Cuda's The Passions of Modernism: Eliot, Yeats, Woolf, and Mann gives a provocative critique of psychological and aesthetic passions in four major early twentieth-century writers while challenging the continued critical neglect of the role that the emotions and the passions play in animating the modernist project.
SUPPORT: Michael Sheen in his hometown of Port Talbot promoting the Passions project in the town PICTURE: Huw Evans Picture Agency [c]
It's not only that the passions are political, but that the political, during the French religious wars, is the passionate' (33).