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Fortitudo, by Sandro Botticelli

Courage, also known as bravery, fortitude, will, and intrepidity, is the ability to confront fear, pain, risk/danger, uncertainty, or intimidation. "Physical courage" is courage in the face of physical pain, hardship, Death, or threat of death, while "moral courage" is the ability to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, scandal, or discouragement.

Contents

Theories of courage

Western Antiquity and Middle Ages

As a [desirable] quality, courage is discussed broadly in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, where its vice of shortage is cowardice and its vice of excess is recklessness.[1]

In Roman Catholicism, courage is referred to as "Fortitude"[2] as one of the four cardinal virtues, along with prudence, justice, and temperance. ("Cardinal" in this sense means "pivotal"; it is one of the four cardinal virtues because to possess any virtue, a person must be able to sustain it in the face of difficulty.) In both Catholicism and Anglicanism, courage is also one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Eastern traditions

The Tao De Ching states that courage is derived from love (" loving causes ability brave") and explains: "One of courage, with audacity, will die. One of courage, but gentle, spares death. From these two kinds of courage arise harm and benefit."[3][4]

Courage (shauriya) and Patience (dhairya) appear as the first two of ten characteristics (lakshana) of dharma in the Hindu Manusmruti, besides forgiveness (kshama), tolerance (dama), honesty (asthaya), physical restraint (indriya nigraha), cleanliness (shouchya), perceptiveness (dhi), knowledge (vidhya), truthfulness (satya), and control of anger (akrodh). Islamic beliefs also present courage as a key factor in facing the Devil and in some cases Jihad to a lesser extent; many believe this because of the courage the Prophets of the past displayed against people who despised them for their beliefs.

Modernity

Søren Kierkegaard opposed courage to angst, while Paul Tillich opposed an existential courage to be to non-being, fundamentally equating it with religion:

"Courage is the self-affirmation of being in spite of the fact of non-being. It is the act of the individual self in taking the anxiety of non-being upon itself by affirming itself ... in the anxiety of guilt and condemnation. ... every courage to be has openly or covertly a religious root. For religion is the state of being grasped by the power of being itself."[5]

J.R.R. Tolkien identified in his 1936 lecture "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics" a "Northern 'theory of courage'"—the heroic or "virtuous pagan" insistence to do the right thing even in the face of certain defeat without promise of reward or salvation:

It is the strength of the northern mythological imagination that it faced this problem, put the monsters in the centre, gave them victory but no honour, and found a potent and terrible solution in naked will and courage. 'As a working theory absolutely impregnable.' So potent is it, that while the older southern imagination has faded forever into literary ornament, the northern has power, as it were, to revive its spirit even in our own times. It can work, as it did even with the goðlauss Viking, without gods: martial heroism as its own end.[6]

Virtuous pagan heroism or courage in this sense is "trusting in your own strength," as observed by Jacob Grimm in his Teutonic Mythology,

Men who, turning away in utter disgust and doubt from the heathen faith, placed their reliance on their own strength and virtue. Thus in the Sôlar lioð 17 we read of Vêbogi and Râdey â sik þau trûðu, "in themselves they trusted"[7]

Ernest Hemingway famously defined courage as "grace under pressure."[8]

Civil courage

Civil courage (sometimes also referred to as "Social courage") is defined by many different standards. In general, the term is usually referred to when civilians stand up against something that is deemed unjust and evil, knowing that the consequences of their action might lead to their death, injury or some other form of significant harm.

In some countries (e.g. Brazil, France and Germany) civil courage is enforced by law; this means that if a crime is committed in public, the public is obliged to act, either by alerting the authorities, or by intervening in the conflict. If the crime is committed in a private environment, those who witness the crime must either report it to the authorities or attempt to stop it.

Symbolism

Its accompanying animal is the lion. Often, Fortitude is depicted as having tamed the ferocious lion. Cf. e.g. the Tarot trump called Strength. It is sometimes seen as a depiction of the Catholic Church's triumph over sin. It also is a symbol in some cultures as a savior of the people who live in a community with sin and a corrupt church or religious body.

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics, 1103b15-20, 1104a15-25, 1104b1-10, 1107a30-1107b5, 1108b15-35, 1109a5-15, 1115a5-1117b25, 1129b20-5, 1137a20-5, 1144b5-10, 1167a20, 1177a30-b1, 1178a10-5, 1178a30-5, 1178b10-5, in Aristotle, Translation, Introduction, and Commentary, Broadie, Sarah, & Rowe, C., Oxford University Press, 2002.
  2. ^ CCEL.org
  3. ^ Chapter 67 and 73, Tao Te Ching (C. Ganson uses the word "courage", but the Mitchell translation does not.)
  4. ^ Zhonwen.com, Tao Te Ching with Hanzi translations
  5. ^ Paul Tillich, The Courage To Be (London: Collins, 1952), 152-183.
  6. ^ Tolkien, JRR. "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics". The Tolkien Estate. pp. 25. http://web.archive.org/web/20071015113632/http://completejrrt.tv/tta_open/2$B.+Old+English+Tales+and+Literary+Works%5bSection%5d/8$The+Monsters+And+The+Critics%5bBook%5d/1$Beowulf..+The+Monsters+and+the+Critics%5bChapter%5d/0025.htm. Retrieved 2008-04-25. 
  7. ^ Grimm, Jacob (1835) (in German). Deutsche Mythologie (Teutonic Mythology) (1 ed.). Dieterich: Göttingen. 
  8. ^ Carter, Richard. "Celebrating Ernest Hemingway's Century". neh.gov. National Endowment for the Humanities. http://www.neh.gov/news/humanities/1999-07/hemingway.html. Retrieved 2009-06-19. 

References


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Courage, also known as fortitude, is the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty or intimidation. It can be divided into "physical courage" — in face of physical pain, hardship, and threat of death — and "moral courage" — in the face of shame, scandal, and discouragement.

Contents

Sourced

  • Complete courage and absolute cowardice are extremes that very few men fall into. The vast middle space contains all the intermediate kinds and degrees of courage; and these differ as much from one another as men’s faces or their humors do.
  • Perfect courage is to do without witnesses what one would be capable of doing with the world looking on.
  • Courage, of all national qualities, is the most precarious; because it is exerted only at intervals, and by a few in every nation; whereas industry, knowledge, civility, may be of constant and universal use, and for several ages, may become habitual to the whole people.
    • David Hume, Of National Characters, part I, essay XXI (1758)
  • Courage is a quality so necessary for maintaining virtue, that it is always respected, even when it is associated with vice.
    • Samuel Johnson, Quoted in James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, June 11, 1784 (1791)
  • It requires courage not to surrender oneself to the ingenious or compassionate counsels of despair that would induce a man to eliminate himself from the ranks of the living; but it does not follow from this that every huckster who is fattened and nourished in self-confidence has more courage than the man who yielded to despair.
    • Soren Kierkegaard, “Irony as a Mastered Moment: The Truth of Irony,” pt. 2, The Concept of Irony (1841)
  • The French courage proceeds from vanity—the German from phlegm—the Turkish from fanaticism & opium—the Spanish from pride—the English from coolness—the Dutch from obstinacy—the Russian from insensibility—but the Italian from anger.
  • A great part of courage is the courage of having done the thing before.
  • ‘Tis said that courage is common, but the immense esteem in which it is held proves it to be rare. Animal resistance, the instinct of the male animal when cornered, is no doubt common; but the pure article, courage with eyes, courage with conduct, self-possession at the cannon’s mouth, cheerfulness in lonely adherence to the right, is the endowment of elevated characters.
  • It is plain that there is no separate essence called courage, no cup or cell in the brain, no vessel in the heart containing drops or atoms that make or give this virtue; but it is the right or healthy state of every man, when he is free to do that which is constitutional to him to do.
  • Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear—not absence of fear. Except a creature be part coward it is not a compliment to say it is brave; it is merely a loose application of the word. Consider the flea!—incomparably the bravest of all the creatures of God, if ignorance of fear were courage.
  • Courage charms us, because it indicates that a man loves an idea better than all things in the world, that he is thinking neither of his bed, nor his dinner, nor his money, but will venture all to put in act the invisible thought of his mind.
  • Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die.
  • Either life entails courage, or it ceases to be life.
    • E.M. Forster, Pharos and Pharillon, “The Poetry of C.P. Cavafy” (1923)
  • Cowardly Lion: Courage! What makes a king out of a slave? Courage! What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage! What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage! What makes the sphinx the seventh wonder? Courage! What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage! What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the "ape" in apricot? What have they got that I ain't got?
    Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman: Courage!
    Cowardly Lion: You can say that again! Hunh!
  • Victory goes to those with courage!
    • Evoluder Guy Shishioh, from the animated series The King of Braves: GaoGaiGar FINAL (2000)
  • Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.
    • C.S. Lewis, quoted in The Unquiet Grave, pt. 3, Cyril Connolly (1944)
  • Courage is of the heart by derivation,
    And great it is. But fear is of the soul.
  • This is the art of courage: to see things as they are and still believe that the victory lies not with those who avoid the bad, but those who taste, in living awareness, every drop of the good.
    • Victoria Lincoln, “The Art of Courage,” Vogue (October 1, 1952)
  • Without belittling the courage with which men have died, we should not forget those acts of courage with which men … have lived. The courage of life is often a less dramatic spectacle than the courage of a final moment; but it is no less a magnificent mixture of triumph and tragedy. A man does what he must—in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures—and that is the basis of all human morality…. In whatever arena of life one may meet the challenge of courage, whatever may be the sacrifices he faces if he follows his conscience—the loss of his friends, his fortune, his contentment, even the esteem of his fellow men—each man must decide for himself the course he will follow. The stories of past courage can define that ingredient—they can teach, they can offer hope, they can provide inspiration. But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul.
  • I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.
  • Courage is in the air in bracing whiffs
    Better than all the stalemate an’s and ifs.
  • Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.
    • Billy Graham, “A Time for Moral Courage” Reader’s Digest (July 1964)
  • Courage is a moral quality; it is not a chance gift of nature like an aptitude for games. It is a cold choice between two alternatives, the fixed resolve not to quit; an act of renunciation which must be made not once but many times by the power of the will.
    • Charles Wilson, 1st Baron Moran, The Anatomy of Courage (1967)
  • Courage is the ladder on which all the other virtues mount.
  • Courage is very important. Like a muscle, it is strengthened by use.
    • Ruth Gordon, L’Officiel (Summer 1980)
  • Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down.
  • Every great work, every big accomplishment, has been brought into manifestation through holding to the vision, and often just before the big achievement, comes apparent failure and discouragement.
  • True courage…has so little to do with Anger, that there lies always the strongest Suspicion against it, where this Passion is highest. The true Courage is the cool and calm. The bravest of Men have the least of a brutal bullying Insolence; and in the very time of Danger are found the most serene, pleasant, and free. Rage, we know, can make a Coward forget himself and fight. But what is done in Fury, or Anger, can never be plac’d to the account of Courage.
  • Courage is the magic that turns dreams into reality.
    • Richter Abend, "w:Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World"

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895

Reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).

  • My dear friend, venture to take the wind on your face for Christ.
  • In the whole range of earthly experience, no quality is more attractive and ennobling than moral courage. Like that mountain of rock which towers aloft in the Irish Sea, the man possessed of this principle is unmoved by the swelling surges which fret and fume at his feet. And yet, unlike that same Ailsa Craig, he is sensitive beyond measure to every adverse influence — battling against it, and triumphing over it by a power which proceeds from God's throne, and pervades his entire being.
    • John McClellan Holmes, p. 165.
  • Be courageous. Be independent. Only remember where the true courage and independence come from.
  • What we want is men with a little courage to stand up for Christ. When Christianity wakes up, and every child that belongs to the Lord is willing to speak for Him, is willing to work for Him, and, if need be, willing to die for Him, then Christianity will advance, and we shall see the work of the Lord prosper.
  • Consult the honor of religion more, and your personal safety less. Is it for the honor of religion (think you) that Christians should be as timorous as hares to start at every sound?
  • To do an evil action is base; to do a good action without incurring danger is common enough; but it is the part of a good man to do great and noble deeds, though he risks every thing.
  • There is a contemptibly quiet path for all those who are afraid of the blows and clamor of opposing forces. There is no honorable fighting for a man who is not ready to forget that he has a head to be battered and a name to be bespattered. Truth wants no champion who is not as ready to be struck as to strike for her.
  • This is the way to cultivate courage: First, by standing firm on some conscientious principle, some law of duty. Next, by being faithful to truth and right on small occasions and common events. Third, by trusting in God for help and power.
    • James F. Clarke, p. 166.
  • Conscience in the soul is the root of all true courage. If a man would be brave, let him learn to obey his conscience.
    • James F. Clarke, p. 167.
  • Whenever you do what is holy, be of good cheer, knowing that God Himself takes part with rightful courage.
  • A Christian builds his fortitude on a better foundation than stoicism; he is pleased with every thing that happens, because he knows it could not happen unless it first pleased God, and that which pleases Him must be best.
    • C. C. Colton, p. 253.
  • Every man must bear his own burden, and it is a fine thing to see any one trying to do it manfully; carrying his cross bravely, silently, patiently, and in a way which makes you hope that he has taken for his pattern the greatest of all sufferers.
    • James Hamilton, p. 253.
  • Providence has clearly ordained that the only path fit and salutary for man on earth is the path of persevering fortitude — the unremitting struggle of deliberate self-preparation and humble but active reliance on Divine aid.
    • Elias Lyman Magoon, p. 253.
  • Be not cast down. If ye saw Him who is standing on the shore, holding out His arms to welcome you to land, ye would wade, not only through a sea of wrongs, but through hell itself to be with Him.
  • Bear your burden manfully. Boys at school, young men who have exchanged boyish liberty for serious business, — all who have got a task to do, a work to finish — bear the burden till God gives the signal for repose — till the work is done, and the holiday is fairly earned.
    • James Hamilton, p. 253.
  • Gird your hearts with silent fortitude, Suffering, yet hoping all things.

Unsourced

  • "If I spent as much time doing the things I worry about getting done as I do worrying about doing them, I wouldn't have anything to worry about." ...
    • Beryl Pfizer
  • "The test of courage comes when we are in the minority. The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority."...
    • Ralph W.Sockman
  • "Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect. It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections."
  • Courage is facing our deepest fears, Heroism is facing them again and again.
    • Tim McInerey
  • If you're gonna be dumb, then you gotta be tough; when you get knocked down, you gotta get back up.
    • Roger Alan Wade
  • Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.
    • Ambrose Redmoon
  • It doesn't matter where you go in this world, there will always be corruption and inequality. It is not only human nature, but the way of nature its self. It is completely unavoidable. Happiness comes from having the courage to change the world to suit you, the wisdom to change your self to suit the world, and the awareness to know how much of each is necessary.
    • Nicholas Colin McLaughlin
  • All problems become smaller if you don’t dodge them, but confront them. Touch a thistle timidly, and it pricks you; grasp it boldly, and its spines crumble.
    • William S. Halsey
  • I admit that there are things scarier, but I consider them inevitable and therefore illogical to be afraid of.
    • Ryan P. Bowen
  • Courage isn't about being fearless. It's about overcoming your fears.
  • An elephant pierced by arrows stands unperturbed. The courageous relent not in adversities.
    • Valluvar Tirukkural 597
  • Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
  • Courage easily finds its own eloquence.
  • Courage is a poison, forever potent and always inflicting those who wish to carry it.
    • Adam Murphy
  • Courage is being scared to death— and saddling up anyway.
    • John Wayne
  • Courage is Fire, Bully is Smoke
    • Yogi Bear
  • Courage is internal belief.
    • Swami Raj
  • Courage is like a muscle; it is strengthened by use.
    • Ruth Gordon
  • Courage is not the absence of fear, but is the presence of fear and the will to go on.
    • Shashank R
  • Courage is not the lack of fear. It is acting in spite of it.
  • Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.
  • Courage is not the towering oak / That sees storms come and go, / It is the fragile blossom / That opens in the snow.
    • Alice MacKenzie Swaim
  • Courage is often lack of insight, whereas cowardice in many cases is based on good information.
  • Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I'll try again tomorrow.
    • Mary Anne Radmacher
  • Courage is rarely reckless or foolish... courage usually involves a highly realistic estimate of the odds that must be faced.
    • Margaret Truman
  • Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all others.
  • Courage is sometimes frail as hope is frail: a fragile shoot between two stones that grows brave toward the sun though warmth and brightness fail, striving and faith the only strength it knows.
    • Frances Rodman
  • Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others.
  • Cowardice. . . is almost always simply a lack of ability to suspend the functioning of the imagination.
  • Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow that talent to dark place where it leads.
  • Fear comes from uncertainty. When we are absolutely certain, whether of our worth or worthlessness, we are almost impervious to fear.
  • Fear imprisons; faith liberates; fear paralyzes; faith empowers; fear disheartens; faith encourages; fear sickens; faith heals; fear makes useless; faith makes serviceable.
  • Fear is an instructor of great sagacity, and the herald of all revolutions.
  • Few things are more attractive than courage, cheerfulness and optimism. But they take on an extra dimension when you realize that they are not a lucky assembly of character traits, but the result of an act of will—a deliberate attempt to tackle an unkind destiny with strength of purpose and good humor.
    • Jane Shilling
  • Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you.
  • Fortunately for themselves and the world, nearly all men are cowards and dare not act on what they believe. Nearly all our disasters come of a few fools having the 'courage of their convictions.'
  • God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
  • Great occasions do not make heroes or cowards; they simply unveil them to the eyes. Silently and imperceptibly, as we wake or sleep, we grow strong or we grow weak, and at last some crisis shows us what we have become.
    • Brooke Foss Westcott
  • Grief has limits, whereas apprehension has none. For we grieve only for what we know has happened, but we fear all that possibly may happen.
  • I am old enough to know that victory is often a thing deferred, and rarely at the summit of courage. What is at the summit of courage, I think, is freedom. The freedom that comes with the knowledge that no earthly thing can break you.
    • Paula Giddings
  • I believe that anyone can conquer fear by doing the things he fears to do, provided he keeps doing them until he gets a record of successful experiences behind him.
  • If one man can stand tall, there will be hope for us all.
    • Jeff Wayne
  • If we could be heroes, if just for one day.
  • If you let fear of consequence prevent you from following your deepest instinct, then your life will be safe, expedient and thin.
    • Katharine Butler Hathaway
  • If you're careful enough, nothing bad or good will ever happen to you.
    • Ashleigh Brilliant
  • In times of stress, be bold and valiant.
  • It is better to die on one's feet than to live on one's knees.
  • It is curious—curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare.
  • It isn't the absence of conscience or values that prevents us from being all we should be, it is simply the lack of moral courage.
    • Michael Josephson
  • Last, but by no means least, courage— moral courage, the courage of one's convictions, the courage to see things through. The world is in a constant conspiracy against the brave. It's the age-old struggle— the roar of the crowd on one side and the voice of your conscience on the other.
  • Life is a compromise of what your ego wants to do, what experience tells you to do, and what nerves let you do.
    • Bruce Crampton
  • Love makes us human, courage makes us extraordinary.
    • Faryal Khan Kharal
  • Many of our fears are tissue-paper thin, and a single courageous step would carry us through them.
    • Brendan Francis
  • Nurture your mind with great thoughts, for you will never go any higher than you think.
  • Often I have found that the one thing that can save is the thing which appears most to threaten ... one has to go down into what one most fears and that process ... comes a saving flicker of light and energy that, even if it does not produce the courage of a hero, at any rate enables a trembling mortal to take one step further.
    • Laurens Van Der Post
  • One must think like a hero merely to behave like a decent human being.
    • May Sarton
  • Proust has pointed out that the predisposition to love creates its own objects; is this not also true of fear?
  • Strength and courage aren't always measured in medals and victories. They are measured in the struggles they overcome. The strongest people aren't always the people who win, but the people who don't give up when they lose.
    • Ashley Hodgeson
  • The art of living lies not in eliminating but in growing with troubles.
    • Bernard M. Baruch
  • The greatest test of courage on the earth is to bear defeat without losing heart.
  • The important thing when you are going to do something brave is to have someone on hand to witness it.
  • The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear—fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants beyond everything else is safety.
  • There is nothing better than the encouragement of a good friend.
    • Katherine Hathaway
  • To have courage for whatever comes in life— everything lies in that.
  • To see what is right and not to do it is cowardice.
  • What worries you, masters you.
    • Haddon W. Robinson
  • What great thing would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?
    • Robert Schuller
  • Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.
  • When it comes to the pinch, human beings are heroic.
  • Worrying is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do, but it doesn't get you anywhere.
  • You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
  • You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.
  • One of my greatest fears, one of those few things that keeps me awake at night and troubles my dreams, is that, when the moment of truth comes, I will fail. This is surpassed only by the fear that when that moment arrives, I will not fail, but will lack the courage to try.
    • Jonah West
  • Have the courage to live. Anyone can die.
    • Robert Cody
  • Courage = Love + Hope + Fear
    • Shomam
  • Bravery is being the only person who knows you're afraid.
    • Franklin P. Jones
  • You only really discover the strength of your spine when your back is against the wall.
  • Courage is nothing but acting as if you dont fear anything.
    • C.P.Karthic Srinivas.
  • Failure is never quite so frightening as regret.

External links

Wikipedia
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Look up courage in Wiktionary, the free dictionary

Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

Courage
disambiguation
This is a disambiguation page, which lists works which share the same title. If an article link referred you here, please consider editing it to point directly to the intended page.


Courage may refer to:


Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also courage

German

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Noun

Courage f. (genitive Courage, no plural)

  1. courage

Derived terms

  • Zivilcourage

Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

That quality which enables one to encounter danger and difficulties with firmness, calmness, and intrepidity; Hebrew, (missing hebrew text) ("Be of good courage," 2 Sam 10:12), or (missing hebrew text) ("Be strong and of a good courage," Deut 31:7, 23; Joshua i. 6).

Physical courage, the result of man's struggle against conditions that threaten his very existence, and which often develops boldness, fearlessness, and an utter disregard of physical pain, is extolled by the Hebrews as a valued possession (compare Jdg 8:21; Eccl 10:17; 1 Kg 16:27; 2Kg 18:20; Mic 3:8). Often the victor was made a popular idol. "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands" (1Sam 18:7), the women of Israel sang when David returned from a campaign against the Philistines. The angel of the Lord says to Gideon: "The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valor" (Jdg 6:12).

Biblical Examples of Courage.

The examples of courage found mentioned in the records of ancient Israel are numerous. The undaunted valor of Barak, of Gideon, and of Jephthah; the fearlessness of Samson, of Saul, and of David, are eloquent testimonies of physical courage. But the Bible sets more value upon moral courage, which is so prominent in the life-history ofthe Jew, and which goes far to explain the power of resistance that he has shown at all times against those who made plans for his destruction. This courage is fostered by confidence and trust in God. "Hope in the Lord, be strong, keep thy heart steadfast, yea, hope thou in the Lord" (Ps 2714, Hebr.); "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength" (Isa 40:31); "Through God we shall do valiantly" (Ps 6014; compare Num 24:18; Ps 3125; Prov 3:23-26); "Fear thou not; for I am with thee. . . . I will strengthen thee" (Isa 41:10); "Yet now be strong O Zerubbabel . . . and be strong, O Joshua . . . and be strong, all ye people . . . for I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts" (Hag 2:4; compare Zech 8:9, "Let your hands be strong, ye that hear").

In Post-Biblical Times.

In post-Biblical times the Jew displayed both physical and moral courage while standing for truth and right against a hostile world. He would face the obloquy of centuries to support a principle which, though unpopular, he believed to be true. "Strive for the truth unto death; and the Lord shall fight for thee" (Ecclus. [Sirach] iv. 28; compare ib. iv. 9, ii. 12; Baruch iii. 14). "In a place where there are no men, endeavor thou to be a man" (Ab. ii. 6b). Crushed to earth, defeated, driven from his native soil, pining in dungeons, made to furnish murderous sport for the wild beasts of the Colosseum and food for the flames of pyres and stakes, he still refused to surrender; struggling against terrible odds for national and political independence, for liberty of conscience, and for the rights of man.

The Martyrs.

Nothing stirred the Jew to resistance so much as interference with his religious belief and practises; for the abandonment of the Law was deemed the most heinous of crimes. Men had fought at all times for house and hearth; but to fight for one's religion was new. The plan of Antiochus Epiphanes to uproot the religion of Judea met with stubborn resistance. "God forbid," says Mattathias, the aged priest of Modin, "that we should forsake the law and the ordinances. We will not harken to the king's word to go from our religion, either on the right hand or the left" (1Macc 2:21, 22). Eleazar, one of the scribes, chose rather to die the glorious death of a martyr than to be faithless to his religion. "But when he [Eleazar] was ready to die . . . he groaned, and said, It is manifest unto the Lord . . . that . . . whereas I might have been delivered from death, I now endure sore pains in body . . . but in soul am well content to suffer. . . . And thus this man died, leaving his death for an example of a noble courage . . ." (2 Macc 6:30, 31). Seven brothers, who were seized by the minions of Antiochus and scourged, to compel them publicly to abjure their faith by eating forbidden food, refuse to do so, and suffer the penalty of most cruel deaths. One of them voices the sentiment of all when he exclaims, "We are ready to die rather than to transgress the laws of our fathers" (ib. vii. 2; compare ib. xiv. 18). Though the seven were tortured in the presence of their mother, the awful sight did not weaken her resolution to endure a similar fate. "But the mother was marvelous above all, and worth of honorable memory: for when she saw her seven sons slain within the space of one day, she bore it with a good courage, because of the hope she had in the Lord" (ib. vii. 20). Even the king, and those who were with him to witness the torture of the seven brothers, marveled at their remarkable courage (ib. vii. 12; IV Macc. viii. 9).

Later, in the desperate life-struggle of the Jews against the trained legions of mighty Rome, which ended in the overthrow of the Jewish state and the loss of Jewish independence (70 C. E.), the heroism and self-sacrifice of the Jews were such as to elicit the admiration of all time. Josephus extols the courage of his fellow believers in facing death for the sake of the Law. "I do not mean such an easy death as happens in battles, but that which comes with bodily torments and seems to be the severest kind of death" ("Contra Ap." ii. 33).

This entry includes text from the Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906.

Simple English

A person has courage if he does something even though he is afraid. Courage can be doing things that other people think should be scary. A person has courage if he puts himself in danger to save another person. If someone has courage, it is said that they are courageous, standing up for what you believe in.

For example, someone may be said to have courage if they fight a lion, or save a baby from a burning building.









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