Character and pedagogy in the book of Proverbs

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


On first impression, the book of Proverbs appears to provide significant support
to a character-focused approach to education. It abounds with character terms,
names for virtues and vices, and is centrally concerned with the qualities and prospects of certain kinds of persons: the wise, fools, the righteous. For this reason, it has been drawn on by advocates of virtue ethics. However, the book of Proverbs also presents problems for such views. As Anne Stewart has highlighted, it lacks any clear narrative structure or clear implications about character development.
Furthermore, in certain respects, its approach to pedagogy and moral reasoning
pays scant attention to virtues. This paper will outline these issues and then
illustrate their significance by reference to Thomas Aquinas's understanding of
prudence. It will conclude with some suggestions as to how this should moderate emphasis on character-oriented attributes in theological education.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGod's exemplary graduates
Subtitle of host publicationCharacter-oriented graduate attributes in theological education
EditorsPeter G. Bolt, Peter Laughlin
Place of PublicationMaccquarie Park NSW
PublisherSCD Press
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781925730227
ISBN (Print)9781925730210
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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