Wisdom

A History

Trevor Curnow

Wisdom

Trevor Curnow

Distributed for Reaktion Books

240 pages | 10 halftones | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2015
Cloth $35.00 ISBN: 9781780234519 Published June 2015 For sale in North and South America only
“There’s no fool like an old fool,” the saying goes. What is it about wisdom that sets it apart from mere intelligence? What is that elusive difference between a simple grasp of the facts and profound understanding? Wisdom has fascinated the human race for thousands of years; philosophers are notorious for being in love with it, and for centuries writers have tried to capture its essence in proverbs and fables. In this book, Trevor Curnow provides an accessible introduction to wisdom and the many ways we have thought about and tried to achieve it throughout history.

Drawing on examples from a diversity of eras and places—from ancient Egypt to medieval Europe to modern Africa—Curnow explores the ways we have sought to overcome the problems posed by our existence, such as love and death, with a steadfast wisdom. He shows how many cultures have attributed wisdom to deities such as Apollo, Odin, and Sarasvati, and how, especially, we have placed it within the vehicle of the proverb, which has safeguarded its lessons throughout time and across cultures.

Including a collection of one hundred sayings that offer a rich record of wisdom’s reification, this history gives new insight into what wisdom actually is and where we might find it. 
Contents
Introduction
1. Wisdom, Gods and Goddesses
2. Wisdom, Myth and Legend
3. Wisdom in History
4. Wisdom and Literature
5. Wisdom and Divination
6. Wisdom and Philosophy
7. Wisdom, Mysticism and Magic
8. Wisdom and Proverbs
9. Wisdom and Present Day
Conclusion
Postscript: A Century of Wisdom
 
References
Further Reading
Bibliography
Acknowledgements
Index
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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