Educating for Virtue


This paper is built upon five premises relating to the promise of the New Covenant as declared in Heb. 8: 10.

First, Heb. 8:10b speaks of a divine character-transforming intervention.

Second, ministers of the New Covenant are co-labourers who co-operate with this intervention (2 Cor. 3:6).

Third, the law referred to in the Heb 8:10b is the Decalogue.

Fourth, “mind and heart” referred to in Heb. 8:10b, upon which the law is to be written is a singular unified entity that refers to the totality of human interiority.

Fifth, “law” (nomos) in Heb. 8:10b refers to precepts of the Decalogue to be internalised as virtues. Such virtues are capabilities related to and arising from divine principle, natural law, and instruction.

It first asks: “What is virtue?”… and then asks: “What is virtuous?”

It presents virtue as a complex of attributes capable of development and assessment. It analyses and classifies the components of its structure. Virtue thus analysed becomes the second axis of an analytical framework that enables the setting and validation of Decalogue-based formational and learning outcomes.

It first asks: “What is virtue?” Grounding the answer in a New Testament context, it outlines how virtue developed in Hellenistic thought. It then compares this development with the Christian concept that emerged from this background and examines the continuance of these conceptions in modern virtue ethics.

It then asks: “What is virtuous?” and examines how major Hellenistic philosophies and modern virtue ethicists answer this question. Addressing the goal of virtue as the pursuit of eudaimonia, it tabulates the attributes thus valorised.