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«Bis dat, qui cito dat»

«Gegengabe» in Paremiology, Folklore, Language, and Literature – Honoring Wolfgang Mieder on His Seventieth Birthday

Edited By Christian Grandl and Kevin J. McKenna

Bis dat, qui cito dat – never has a proverb more aptly applied to an individual than does this Medieval Latin saying to Wolfgang Mieder. «He gives twice who gives quickly» captures the essence of his entire career, his professional as well as personal life. As a Gegengabe, this international festschrift honors Wolfgang Mieder on the occasion of his seventieth birthday for his contributions to world scholarship and his kindness, generosity, and philanthropy. Seventy-one friends and colleagues from around the world have contributed sixty-six essays in six languages to this volume, representative of the scope and breadth of his impressive scholarship in paremiology, folklore, language, and literature. This gift in return provides new insights from acknowledged experts from various fields of research.
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Wisdom in Proverbs


František Čermák

1Introduction and Questions

Obviously, trying to pin down what may be considered a wise saying among proverbs is a futile effort as all proverbs are traditionally considered to be drops of essence containing wisdom, though some do seem to sound more wise, such as The apple does not fall far from the tree, some less so. Yet it is in fact relevant to ask whether all the proverbs really express some kind of wisdom. Leaving the problem open, it may be enough to say that it is, at least, definitely not true, that only those proverbs containing words 'wisdom' and 'wise' must tell us something about wisdom. Hence, a limitation of the scope is necessary: To make it really simple, let us concentrate on wisdom proverbs only, i.e. those having this loaded word in their form. Before doing so, however, some other general questions, seemingly futile for some, about people using proverbs might and should be asked.

2Questions About 'Wisdom'

Since frequent attributes attached to proverbs include 'wisdom,' one may naturally ask a couple of questions based on this premise, therefore:

(1)Is a man/woman often using proverbs wise, i.e. one displaying some kind of wisdom?

(2)Is a paremiologist studying proverbs professionally and extensively a particularly wise person, then?

A summary simple answer is that it is not the knowledge of proverbs but one's respect to and realization...

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