Augustinian Studies

Volume 53, Issue 1, 2022

Peter Iver Kaufman
Pages 3-27

Hopefully, Augustine

When Augustine wrote about having discovered a hope (diuersa spes) different from the political ambitions that drew him to Rome then Milan (spes saeculi), he referred to Christians’ hopes for celestial reward. But several colleagues suggest that he also harbored hopes for a kinder political culture. Discussions of Augustine’s hopes have enlivened the study of political theory and political theology for several generations. During the twenty-first century two influential volumes took him as their inspiration for “hopeful citizenship” and “democratic citizenship.” Recently, two perceptive studies propose variations on the themes introduced there. What follows deploys several of Hannah Arendt’s observations about Augustine to suggest that his political hopes were somewhat more restricted but more radical than the latest contributions to his political theology suggest.