Volume 16, Issue 5/6, 2006
Topicality of St. Augustine’s Concept of Wisdom
St. Augustine’s idea of wisdom partly studied by H. I. Marrou, F. Cayré, J. Maritain and E. Gilson, is more universal than Aristotle’s or Thomas Aquinas’. For the Bishop of Hippo the term sapientia can designate, on the supernatural plane, God’s nature, the life of grace, contemplation of God, and, on the natural plane, contemplation of truth or even man’s ethical life.
The purpose of this paper is to examine in what relationship theoretical wisdom, which Augustine identifies with philosophy, and learning stand to each other. Wisdom is a universal and genetic knowledge of the world, while learning is the knowledge of the particular and phenomenon. The object of wisdom is the world of the spirit that of learning is the material world. Wisdom and learning, even though they may be opposed, do not exclude one another. Their development precisely depends on their mutual harmonious cooperation, but sapiential knowledge keeping the guiding role.