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Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics

Volume 40, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 2020

James McCarty
Pages 39-57

The Power of Hope in the Work of Justice
Christian Ethics after Despair

This essay engages Miguel De La Torre’s proposal to “embrace hopelessness” and argues that Christians should hold on to hope. The author places De La Torre’s argument in conversation with others who have written on hope and hopelessness and excavates two main weaknesses in his argument: first, a definition of hope that does not stand up to a review of the literature on the topic, especially as advocated by scholars from oppressed communities, and, second, a proposal for hopelessness that does not address how it can contribute to sustainable social transformation. The author then defends hope by drawing on the theological labor and lived experience of oppressed people who utilize hope to empower transformative social action.

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