Although the concept of seven virtues is associated with Christianity, they actually predate it by several centuries. Most credit the philosopher Plato with listing a few of them. It should be noted that the idea of defining virtuous ways of being is not limited to Christianity — in Bushido, the code followed by the Japanese Samurai a set of seven virtues is described too, though these differ from traditional Christian lists. Theologians and theorists may define the virtues differently and they have undergone some changes.
Some of the early virtues described are done so in the writing of St. Paul, who talks about the greatest of these virtues being love. The other virtues St. Paul lists are called theological and are faith and hope. The remaining four virtues usually listed are called cardinal virtues, and philosophers like St. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas developed definitive lists.
The cardinal virtues are:
- Courage or Fortitude: strength to bear difficult to things or to be brave in the face of obstacles.
As mentioned the theological virtues are:
- Love or Charity: love and charity are often considered together and generally mean acting in a selfless way with love for others