Saturday, December 29, 2012

Artisans Possessed of Wisdom

". . . 'And every woman wise of heart spun with her hands, and they brought the spinning, the blue and the purple and the scarlet, and the fine linen. . . . And Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and everyone wise of heart, in whose heart God had put wisdom, all whose heart elevated them, to enter into the craftwork, to do it' (Exodus 35:25; 36:2; cf. 36:1,4).

It is appropriate to speak of the artisans as possessed of wisdom (and not just 'skill'), because the biblical writers share the understanding common to most traditional societies that the active form of wisdom is good work. Wisdom does not consist only in sound intellectual work; any activity that stands in a consistently productive relationship to the material world and nurtures the creative imagination qualifies as wise. The modern failure to honor physical work that is skilled but nonetheless 'ordinary' has resulted in the devaluation and humiliation of countless workers. Moreover, probably everyone on the planet is now affected, directly or indirectly, by industrial society's widespread disconnection from the physical world as a source of meaning and therefore focus of love."

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