The Philosophical Approach Towards Wisdom

The Philosophical Approach Towards Wisdom

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-168-3.ch002
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The Beginnings Of Wisdom

The book of Genesis is the first book of the Bible of Judaism and of Christianity, and the first of five books of the Pentateuch or Torah. It recounts Judeo-Christian beliefs regarding the world from creation to the descent of the children of Israel into Egypt, and contains some of the best-known stories of the Old Testament, including Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah's Ark, the Tower of Babel, and the biblical Patriarchs. For Jews, the theological importance of Genesis centers on the Covenants linking God to his Chosen People, and the people to the Promised Land. Christianity has reinterpreted Genesis as the prefiguration of Christian beliefs, notably the Christian view of Christ as the new Adam and the New Testament as the culmination of the covenants. Scholars believe that it reached its final form in the fifth century B.C., with a previous history of composition reaching back possibly to the tenth century. However, the content considers topics including the beginnings of heaven, the Earth, and human life on Earth.

The Bible is considered by many people as an important source of human understanding and moral direction based on wisdom. However, it is not human wisdom, but wisdom based on divine revelation and relying on prophecy. In this book, the beginning of wisdom comes not from wonder, but from awe and reverence. Its goal is not understanding for its own sake, but rather, applying it as a right thing (Kass, 2003, p. 3). This book reflects the wisdom of Jerusalem, not the wisdom of Athens, which provided the foundation for the main stream of civilizations and their scientific achievements, based on searching for the truth through reasoning. Unfortunately, through the following centuries and millennia this truth-oriented search replaced the quest for human wisdom, which was substituted by Jerusalemian wisdom by many important philosophers. According to these individuals, humans are not wise; only God(s) have license for wisdom.

Science and technology-driven contemporary civilizations push humans towards the rat race for wealth, health, and pleasure with the help of moral relativism, cynicism, greed, or nihilism. These kinds of qualities cannot solve problems of gene engineering, overpopulation, ecological disasters, depletion of strategic resources, and the sustainability of civilization. Human knowledge is not good enough to solve these problems. Hence wisdom is needed, which to be successful, must be applied together with spirituality (beliefs and values). The latter has not changed much since biblical times; therefore, the Bible may still be the source of morality and some wisdom for some humans, if not for all. The right complementary combination of Jerusalemian and Athenian wisdom is perhaps the solution to current civilizational problems.

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