counsel of perfection

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counsel of perfection (plural counsels of perfection)

  1. (Christianity) Advice in the gospel of Matthew on ways to strive for perfection
  2. (Christianity, specifically) The virtues of obedience, chastity, and charity, especially in monastic vows.
    • 2005, Nicholas Capaldi, Business and Religion: A Clash of Civilizations?, page 137:
      Many of the recommendations of Jesus are aimed at those who wish to join his circle of disciples to live a rigorous life. Often they are counsels of perfection, and not aimed at ordinary believers who live their everyday life in their family, in their work, and in their prayers.
  3. (by extension) Noble, but impractical advice.
    • 1919, Harold Joseph Laski, Authority in the Modern State, page 55:
      To a practical statesman that will seem perhaps a counsel of perfection; and, certainly, it is a counsel that, at every stage, will encounter acute difficulties of practical operation.
    • 1988, Albert R. Jonsen, The Abuse of Casuistry: A History of Moral Reasoning:
      Lessius qualified his position on killing in self-defense for defense of honor by noting that although it is permissible to kill for these reasons, it is a moral counsel of perfection to allow oneself to be killed rather than to kill.
    • 2008, Norman K Denzin, ‎Michael D Giardina, Qualitative Inquiry and the Politics of Evidence, page 69:
      In the end, their “Recommendations for Designing and Evaluating Qualitative Research” concludes with another counsel of perfection: “These guidelines amount to a specification of the ideal qualitative research proposal [original emphasis].