Reverence: Renewing a Forgotten Virtue

Noting the nonchalant destruction for our environment and a lack of respect for rules and authorities, philosopher Paul Woodruff questions if modern society has lost its capacity for reverence in his book Reverence: Renewing a Forgotten Virtue.

In this thin 256-page book, he eloquently examines the meaning of reverence and explores it as an important aspect of a moral life, defining it as "the well-developed capacity to have the feelings of awe, respect, and shame when these are the right feelings to have" as well as "the virtue that keeps human beings from trying to act like gods".

Part opinion, part historical, Woodruff uses examples from the past – such as principles from ancient Greek and Confucian ideals – to back his arguments up in a clear and easily understood way. For example, he cross references the importance of reverence in various settings and in different cultures, specifically ancient Greece, Confucian China and present day university life.

Author Woodruff teaches humanities at the University of Texas at Austin and hopes that this book of his would inspire readers to live their life with reverence rather than to rebel for the sake of criticism.

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Related link: Wikipedia – Paul Woodruff

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