Religion Past and Present

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[German Version]

I. Philosophy

Wisdom is the knowledge that philosophy aspires to. It is an element of the Greek word for philosophy, which combines the verb φιλέω/philéō, “love, aspire to,” with the noun σοφία/sophía. Initially σοφία had no particular philosophical significance. The word denoted expert skill in the practice of an art or craft. Aristotle, who was responsible for developing the word’s specifically philosophical sense, introduced σοφία by calling it “the perfection of an art” (ἀρετὴ τέχνης/aretḗt…

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Figal, Günter, Hailer, Martin and Wahl, Heribert, “Wisdom”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 13 June 2021 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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