What does it mean to be wise? And is attaining wisdom worthwhile? In this course, we will “listen in” on the conversations of wise men and women by reading the “wisdom literature” of different ages and civilizations. As we shall see, these works—from the biblical book of Proverbs to Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations—often provide the literary equivalent of sound bites. They are terse, dense, memorable, and endlessly challenging. We will explore the notions of wisdom presented by these texts (which often contradict one another), along with the questions of whether—and how—they might lead us to wisdom in the modern age.
Earn a Tikvah Certificate
For students who want to take at least 3 courses this summer, you can become eligible for special additional opportunities—including essay prizes/scholarships, special sessions w/ Jewish leaders, and a Tikvah online certificate.Learn More
Meet the Instructor
Seminars are taught by Tikvah faculty and experts in the subject matter. Please note that course faculty are subject to change depending on availability.
Charles T. Rubin
Charles T. Rubin teaches political philosophy at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh. Recent publications focus on converging technologies, and those who believe they should be used to redesign humanity, a topic he discusses in Eclipse of Man: Human Extinction and the Meaning of Progress (Encounter/New Atlantis Books, 2014). Dr. Rubin is also author of The Green Crusade: Rethinking the Roots of Environmentalism (1994) and editor of Conservation Reconsidered: Nature, Virtue and American Liberal Democracy (2000). In 2017-18 he was a visiting Fellow in the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, Princeton University, working on a book exploring what classic stories about human-created monsters tell us about the coming age of biotechnology. Other work in the field of literature and politics includes studies of Henry Adams, Flannery O’Connor (with his wife Leslie G. Rubin), H.G. Wells, and contemporary author Neal Stephenson.