The Cardinal Virtues in the Middle Ages: A Study in Moral by István P. Bejczy

By István P. Bejczy

Regardless of its non-Christian origins, the scheme of the cardinal virtues (prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance) chanced on large reputation in medieval theology, philosophy, and spiritual literature. the current learn is the 1st to enquire the background of the 4 virtues within the Latin center a while from patristic occasions to the past due fourteenth century. It examines the location of the cardinal virtues among non secular and secularized conceptions of morality and makes an attempt to bare a few tremendously Christian facets of medieval advantage conception although its happen indebtedness to old ethics. Exploring realized and popularizing resources alike, together with a lot unedited fabric, this examine covers a extensive spectrum of ethical debate in the course of ten centuries of Western highbrow heritage.

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See Colish, “The Virtuous Pagan”, ff. 120 See Alcuin, De rhetorica , p. : “Karlus. Quid philosophis cum his [sc. virtus, scientia, veritas, amor bonus]? Albinus. Has intellexerunt in natura humana et summo studio coluerunt”. patristic era and early middle ages (c. –c. 121 Nevertheless, Alcuin leaves no doubt that the four virtues have their proper place in Christian religion. Each of the virtues is defined twice in De rhetorica, first in accordance with Cicero’s De inventione and second in relation to the religious duties of Christian believers, with prudence being related to the knowledge of God, justice to charity, and fortitude to resisting the devil.

CCSL : . 107 See ibid. , CCSL B: : “Nam sicut fabrica columnis, columnae autem basibus innituntur, ita uita nostra in uirtutibus, uirtutes uero in intima intentione subsistunt. Et … tunc bases in fundamento sunt, cum intentiones nostrae in Christo roborantur”. , CCSL : : “Non enim uirtutibus uenitur ad fidem, sed per fidem pertingitur ad uirtutes”. , CCSL : –. 103 patristic era and early middle ages (c. –c. )  given cardinal virtues drench the hearts of men like the rivers of Paradise and elevate their minds to the high summit of rightness,110 making them fit in the present life for God’s blessings in the next.

Few early medieval authors evoked, or indeed seem to have remembered, the classical origin of the quartet. The work of Christianizing the virtues having been done and ancient moral philosophy being dead and buried, most authors further assimilated the virtues to the faith in the diverse genres of religious writing where the fathers introduced them—moral and spiritual literature, exegesis, preaching, and hagiography. , p. , for a reference to the connection of the four virtues). , CSEL : ,  (cf.

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