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Volume 47 • Number 4

October 2010




by James Kellenberger

I. Introduction

Humility has not always been regarded as a virtue. Aristotle, if he recognized it at all, seems to have regarded it as a vice, a deficiency in regard to magnanimity. In the popular culture of the twenty-first century, while courage is held in high moral esteem, the regard given to humility is more questionable. Humility, however, is not universally dismissed as a virtue. Many see it as having moral value. In fact, a number of contemporary philosophers are relatively clear that humility is a morally valuable trait and so is a moral virtue, although they disagree about its character. For traditional Christianity and Judaism, of course, and for other religious traditions, humility is a religious virtue. However, if humility is a religious virtue, is it different from humility as a moral virtue? Below, we shall start in section II with the question, What is the best way to understand the general notion of humility? In section III it shall be followed by the question, What are the core contrasting states that humility opposes? Third , in section IV we shall ask, Does humility as a religious virtue have a distinctive and abiding character?

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ISSN: 2152-1123