by James Kellenberger
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?