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Title: What may I hope for? : modernity and the Augustinian virtue of hope
Author: Brooks, Edward W. R. L.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7966 2030
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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The question, 'What may I hope for?' was identified by Immanuel Kant as a central concern of his philosophy. However, tracing Kant's question into late modernity highlights a tension: Kant's notion of autonomous selfhood has flourished, but the rational theistic order within which he developed his understanding of hope has been displaced. In a context where the relation between personal identity and objective ontology has broken down, how can we understand hope's meaning and significance? What may 'I' hope for? Recent approaches in philosophy and psychology have tended to bracket ontological considerations, focusing on hope as a subjective expectation or mental attitude. As a result, hope has often been conflated with optimism. By contrast, the most prominent theologian of hope, Jürgen Moltmann, has proposed an understanding of hope within a revisionist theological ontology. Problems with these approaches have precipitated a return to the pre-modern understanding of hope as a virtue. My thesis fits within this trend, seeking to contribute an Augustinian understanding of the virtue of hope. Three factors support this turn to Augustine: (1) Augustine (through Lombard and Aquinas) is the source of the Western understanding of hope as a virtue; (2) Augustine's understanding of hope is a significant lacuna in both hope research and Augustine studies; (3) Moltmann develops his account in opposition to a reading of Augustine's trinitarian theology that recent scholarship has shown to be erroneous. This thesis will present a reading of Augustinian hope in relation to Augustine's theological ontology and understanding of the self. Hope is for the self that does not seek its own (vain) glory, asserting its own subjectivity against God and others, but is instead willingly 'subjectified' under Christ and within the ecclesial community. Against the objection of malign sectarianism, I argue that Augustinian hope is good for the world.
Supervisor: Wood, William Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available