Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

2.2 Doctrine of Virtue

2.2.1 Introduction

Tying into the four cardinal virtues of Plato and their further development through Aristotle, throughout the entire Middle Ages, Christian ethics was understood as “doctrine of virtue.”

Plato’s Four Cardinal Virtues 

Wisdom: σοφια

Courage: ανδρεια

Moderation: σωφρϖσυνη

Justice: δικαιοσυνη

To these are added the Biblical “theological virtues” (1 Cor. 13:13)

Medieval Theological Virtues

Fides: πιστισ

Spes: ελπισ

Caritas: αγαπη


2.2.2 Secondary Virtues 

For example: 









2.2.3 Application/Discussion

Secondary virtues make day-to-day interactions simpler. 

Secondary virtues are small expressions of charity. They are also an expression of esteem for others (e.g. an expression of “treating others as you wish to be treated). 

  • Tardiness is theft of another’s time 
  • Tardiness is pride: the other person is assessed as “less” than yourself

Problem area: Secondary virtues have a tendency to become a source of petty legalism.