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Hoping Without a Future: Augustine's Theological Virtues Beyond Melancholia

Jeffrey S. Metcalfe

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For St. Augustine, Christian living is constituted by the inseparably connected theological virtues of faith, hope, and love, where happiness is found in a precarious and changeable world through hope in a future secured in eternity. Taking up the Hegelian philosophy of Gillian Rose, Vincent Lloyd has argued that such an understanding of hope is melancholic, leading him to reject hope as a virtue and thus invalidating the theological virtues under an Augustinian conception. However, in my view Lloyd misreads Rose by failing to recognize the silent character of hope in her work. I shall argue that Gillian Rose rescues Augustine’s theological virtues by recasting hope in an eternal present.

 
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