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6 - Theological Virtues in Proverbs

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 October 2020

Arthur Jan Keefer
Affiliation:
Eton College
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Summary

Interpreters assume not only that the moral concepts of Proverbs constitute virtues as defined by Aristotle but also that theological concepts in Proverbs resemble Aquinas’ theological virtues: faith, hope and charity. According to the Summa Theologica, these virtues correspond to the human actions of intellectual assent to God, trust in him, and love for him. The questions asked are twofold: how does Proverbs portray human apprehension, trust, and love in or for God, and how do these conceptions relate to the theological virtues of Aquinas’ moral philosophy? I argue that Proverbs contains concepts that meet Aquinas’ criteria for theological virtue. The biblical concepts appear explicitly, as in passages that mention “hope” and “love,” and implicitly, as in passages that portray humans exercising faith in God without mentioning “faith.” I explore texts in Proverbs that most clearly feature the theological virtues (Proverbs 1-3; 30:1-9) and material that supports and qualifies my initial conclusions (Proverbs 10-29).

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Chapter
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The Book of Proverbs and Virtue Ethics
Integrating the Biblical and Philosophical Traditions
, pp. 158 - 200
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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