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.