Seven Scribal Virtues

When Pope Gregory I (540-604 CE) defined the seven deadly sins, he also gave values to adopt, The Seven Virtues.
Virtues may be both built-in talents and learned actions. They are both good deeds and their necessary training. 
Here, I describe the seven virtues relating to scribes. Traits that effuse every scribes’ calligraphy and illumination on their every scroll, whether novice or experienced.
What are the seven scribal virtues?

Illuminated Hebrew and English hand-done award
Bi-Lingual Hebrew-English Award Scroll

Prudence, according to St. Thomas Aquinas is “right reason in action,” It’s practical wisdom combined with our conscience, making us aware then able to do right things.

The prudent scribe is silent about her assigned scroll’s future recipient. She unobtrusively gathers personal details. He quietly researches persona related manuscript styles, keeping quiet about their use.

Justice is the virtue that gives all its due. Creations, people, animals. Treating each by its own nature, laws, and rights. It is giving respect, honor, and dignity. Qualities lauded by our Society.

The very scrolls a scribe caringly creates are for that purpose. They allow Their Majesties to give respect and honor in a glowing dignified way.

3 women in medieval style clothing sit at a table painting and talking
Scribes Working and Sharing Information

Fortitude, similar to courage and strength, faces fear directly. Like a fighter, a scribe with fortitude perseveres through hours placing teeny-tiny ink and paint strokes on Bristol board or vellum. Sometimes sleep deprived with aching back.

Temperance sets boundaries and bridles delight’s draw. The temperate scribe creates scrolls or preprint-masters following his Monarch’s wishes, guided by the Kingdom’s scribal handbook. Inspired by medieval manuscripts, her scrolls resemble a lost page from her inspiration.

Those are a scribe’s natural virtues, impelled by those of faith, hope, and love.

Faith, in its nonreligious form, is optimism. It gives the novice patience and will to learn scribal skills. Faith helps us face scribal difficulties and expect positive outcomes. To make the best decisions to produce a worthy work.

A woman in medieval style clothing in holding in each hand a hand painted award and a hand painted picture.
Scribal Work Received

Hope is expecting something better and the basis for joy. A hopeful scribe seeks and learns ever more skills—vellum use, gilding, paint making—expecting excellence in their next courageous work.

Love as St. Augustine said, “… is the fulfillment of all our works…” It is felt when making a well-crafted scroll for someone never met. It is coaching others with your acquired detailed skills. It is taking the Royal Scribe mantle, often more than once.

A scribe’s response to Virtue’s call is complicated and personal. I’m not able to achieve it wholly. I’m only able to rehearse.
Copyright (c) by Susan E. Gordon 2016

Categories: Musings

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