Wisdom is the Most Honorable and Best Knowledge.

What better subject to contemplate on the Epiphany- a feast in which kings from the east found wisdom lying in a cradle and worshiped Him as that which is most honorable.

Wisdom is in fact the most honorable kind of knowledge and we might even go so far as to say the most honorable thing that we can pursue.

So far – just to recapitulate we have discussed St Thomas’ first three attributes of wisdom (which it goes without saying is a ‘science’ about first causes and principles):

  1. Wisdom is a speculative knowledge
  2. Wisdom is a liberal knowledge
  3. Wisdom is  not really properly speaking a human possession

And now, finally, we are going to say that Wisdom is the most honorable and therefore best knowledge.

St Thomas offers the following syllogism:

That science which is most divine is most honorable, just as God Himself is also the most honorable of all things. But this science is the most divine, and is therefore the most honorable.

and then he explains

First, the science which God has is said to be divine; and second, the science which is about divine matters is said to be divine. But it is evident that only this science meets both of these requirements, because, since this science is about first causes and principles, it must be about God; for God is understood in this way by all inasmuch as He is one of the causes and a principle of things.

So Wisdom is divine- and then he hearkens back to the fact that wisdom is not really a human possession- confirming what we might be thinking, namely that if we have wisdom maybe we are just sort of borrowing it?

Again, such a science which is about God and first causes, either God alone has or, if not He alone, at least He has it in the highest degree. Indeed, He alone has it in a perfectly comprehensive way. And He has it in the highest degree inasmuch as it is also had by men in their own way, although it is not had by them as a human possession, but as something borrowed from Him.

So there we have it – Wisdom is speculative, liberal, borrowed from God, and therefore absolutely divine!

Maybe it does make sense to expend considerable trouble to get some of it. Those three wise men really knew what they were doing.

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About marklangley

Academic Dean at The Lyceum (a school he founded in 2003, see theLyceum.org) Mark loves sacred music and Gregorian Chant and singing with his lovely wife, Stephanie, and their twelve children.
This entry was posted in classical education, truth for its own sake, Wisdom and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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