The Life of Virtue – Studiosity
Studiosity is a desire; it therefore belongs to temperance. If we have an appetite for study, like all appetitive movements, it will need to be moderated. We can easily fall into the vice of curiosity, when we allow our pride to drive our yearning for knowledge. When we do this we try to put ourselves above God. We also do this when we separate our study from the due end: God. This does not mean that when learning about the Imperial German Armee-Inspektion or Cornish cheese- production, we have to insert God; but we must remember that what we are learning about is not the be all and end all of everything.
Also if we engage in study in order to sin, we put ourselves against God. We must be careful in what we study. This requires an element of humility. We might not intend to sin but we can easily fall into sin by studying things that might be above our intelligence. This can lead us into error. Likewise our natural curiosity can become superstitious. St. Augustine gives the example of many being excommunicated by their interest in studying demonology and witchcraft.
We must also remember that there is a hierarchy of our studies. At times we have an obligation to certain pursuits but also some areas are more important than others. We cannot let our curiosity take us off track. St. Jerome observed: “we see priests forsaking the gospels and the prophets, reading stage-plays, and singing the love songs of pastoral idylls.” This is not to say that we can not have other studious interests, outside our primary focus, but they must be subordinate.