A wonderful book which anyone who has ever wondered, ‘How ought I to live in order to be happy’ should read. I have, at least once! Oh yes, and read it also if you are interested in how our ancient ancestors thought about the most central questions of life and themselves and cultivated excellence of character before Christianity, a system of ethics that is once again flourishing in our world today. Accessible to everyone, philosophers and nonphilosophers alike.
I loved this book, it’s one I cheerfully recommend. I’m very happy today to be sharing an excerpt.
Overture to The Other Side of Virtue (O Books, 2008) by Brendan Myers
The story of Christian virtue begins with the story of Moses, the holy man who climbed the holy mountain to receive the Law. Like any system of ethics based on law, it was intended to separate right from wrong as clearly as possible. This is why most of them begin with ‘thou shall not’. Of course, the law forbids things that nearly everyone would agree do not belong in a civil society: thievery and murder, for instance. So on the face of it, there can be no objection. But we should be very cautious about taking up such a gift and accepting it without question. Such pre-packaged gifts are sometimes like the Trojan Horse. They often conceal all sorts…
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