Wisdom

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Wisdom entails a knowledge of truth and goodness. In the Bible, the Book of Proverbs opens with a definition of its purpose and use and includes a powerful definition of wisdom:

The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:

For attaining wisdom and discipline; For understanding words of insight; For acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, Doing what is right and just and fair; For giving prudence to the simple, Knowledge and discretion to the young- Let the wise listen and add to their learning, And let the discerning get guidance- For understanding proverbs and parables, The sayings and riddles of the wise. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools [a] despise wisdom and discipline.


Plato stated that wisdom concerned knowledge of the whole and that wisdom required both scientific and practical knowledge. Aristotle differentiated practical wisdom (prudence) from speculative wisdom (wisdom). For Aristotle practical wisdom concerned the conduct of life while speculative wisdom related to theology and the philosophy of origins. A later follower of Aristotle's distincitions was Thomas Aquinas. Baruch Spinoza differentiated wisdom between "the ratio" or reason and "scientia intuitiva" or intuitive knowledge. [Dictionary of Philosophy and Religion, W.L. Reese]

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