chapter  7
18 Pages

An animal in need of wisdom

Theological anthropology and the origins of humility and wisdom
WithJan-Olav Henriksen

Wisdom, humility, and grace are different features that may shape human and pre-human modes of life. They originate in the relational learning processes in which the individual participates, and they presuppose the ability to thematize oneself in relation to others, especially by means of language. Among the basic constituents of all these features is the insight into one’s own limitations: to be wise and humble presupposes that one knows what one cannot do or be, whereas grace is the manifestation of that which moves oneself beyond what one thought it was possible to do or be, due to unforeseen and unanticipated elements in the reality in which one takes part. Hence, wisdom, humility, and grace must all be seen as conditions for (pre-)human agency, building on psychological and other evolved capacities. Thus, these features are also important elements when humans relate to the world in terms of orientation, transformation, and reflection.