[DWJ] Re: Dwj Digest, (ie sir Thursday - spoiler alert)

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Tue Mar 21 04:57:22 EST 2006


Jon wrote:

>It is an interesting quirk of human nature that most
>people can name the Seven Deadly Sins (or at least
>most of them) very few can name the virtues. One of
>the students at the school in which I teach created a
>series of paintings last year based on the seven sins.
>They were displayed in the library for a couple of
>weeks and most students were able to work out what
>they were about, but no-one I challenged could name
>even one of the Seven Virtues.

That's because they aren't really traditional, I suspect.  Three of them,
faith, hope and charity, are the stand-alone Pauline virtues, and after
that it's not obvious and different sources give different virtues.

In several places there are five virtues listed for the chivalric code, for
instance, as Generosity, Love of his fellow men, Purity, Courtesy and
Compassion (that's how they appear in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight:
"fraunchyse, fela3schyp, clannes, courtaysye, pite").  One of those is
clearly charity -- or is it? are two of them actually charity in different
guises? -- the other four or three don't match your listed Faith, Hope,
Charity, Temperance, Justice, Prudence and Fortitude.  I suppose clannes
and chastity are a match, which might be how it came to be smuggled in to
replace prudence.  :-)

Throw in Gawain's problem-child "trewthe" -- "integrity"? "honour"?
"honesty"? -- which isn't in the seven.  Then there is loyalty, which seems
to be such a "given" in the chivalric code that it hardly needs to be
mentioned.  What about valour, as opposed to fortitude: the former is
something you set out to do, the latter is something you need when someone
sets out to do unto you.

I'd say it's an interesting quirk of human nature that codifying the Sins
can be done fairly easily and agreed on, but there are so many different
ways of expressing virtue that no two people I know seem to agree which
virtues ought to be set against the seven deadly sins.  Some go for
opposites, as it were (what's the opposite of "accidie"?), and some go for
whatever they feel are the most important good qualities for humanity
without reference to the listed sins.  (Just at the moment, waiting for a
builder who is now three weeks late or an hour late depending on which
time-scale I use, I would list "punctuality" as a virtue, or maybe
"reliability".)

obDWJ, every time she tries to list the seven deadly sins she gets six of
them straight off and can't remember the seventh, but each time it seems to
be a different seventh that she can't remember immediately and only comes
to after a lot of mental rummaging.  She always gets gluttony first,
possibly because her plump little cat is an ever-present reminder of its
dangers.

Minnow





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