Humilitas is the Latin word for humility. John Dickson began studying the origins of humility in Western ethical thought through a research project he was involved with at Macquarie University. He was intrigued to discover that prior to the growth of Christianity humility was not valued highly. The more he researched the topic the more he was drawn to the aesthetic qualities and practical benefits of humility.
In the introduction Dickson, points out the difficulty or writing on this subject. Does the reader think he is writing about humility because he has his virtue? If so, he clearly hasn’t. Yet if he doesn’t have this virtue why would he presume to write about it? Dickson makes many amusing comments about his lack of humility including a comment from his best friend who said, on learning the topic of his research project, “Well, John, at least you have the objective distance from the subject!”
Dickson looks at a range of issues associated with humility. How is it defined? How does it affect leadership? How does it affect our relationship with others? How did it become a virtue? Why is it a virtue worth pursuing? What is the enduring legacy that Jesus left in regard to humility? Dickson gives many insights and historic understanding into this virtue and why it is something worth pursing today.
Overall a very interesting and enlightening book.