Thursday, January 05, 2012

The universals are specific

“The book of Proverbs, when viewed as a collection, is less about offering readers an enormous set of universal ethical principles than the collective wisdom of communities whose members participate in a shared humanity while displaying considerable variation. In some circumstances, a maxim can offer sound guidance—but not in all. A level of practical wisdom, what Aristotle called φρονησις [phronesis], but what the Hebrew Bible calls תבונה [TBWNH], is necessary to know which maxims can best guide one on particular occasions. Their validity depends in no small part on their context.”—From Fratricide to Forgiveness, page 104

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