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Hope and Christian Ethics

Hope and Christian Ethics

$105.00 (C)

Part of New Studies in Christian Ethics

  • Author: David Elliot, Catholic University of America, Washington DC
  • Date Published: July 2017
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107156173

$ 105.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • The theological virtue of hope has long been neglected in Christian ethics. However, as social, civic and global anxieties mount, the need to overcome despair has become urgent. This book proposes the theological virtue of hope as a promising source of rejuvenation. Theological hope sustains us from the sloth, presumption and despair that threaten amid injustice, tragedy and dying; it provides an ultimate meaning and transcendent purpose to our lives; and it rejoices and refreshes us 'on the way' with the prospect of eternal beatitude. Rather than degrading this life and world, hope ordains earthly goods to our eschatological end, forming us to pursue social justice with a resilience and vitality that transcend the cynicism and disillusionment so widespread at present. Drawing on Thomas Aquinas and virtue ethics, the book shows how the virtue of hope contributes to human happiness in this life and not just the next.

    • Argues that theological hope, from the viewpoint of philosophy, is recognizably beneficial, making the book a truly interdisciplinary work that builds bridges between theology and philosophy, the religious and the secular
    • Written in clear and jargon-free prose that frequently draws on non-standard sources of ethical reflection, from the liturgy to literature, which allows non-specialists to find it intelligible, appealing and culturally rich rather than narrow, arid and overly technical
    • Explains how Christian hope benefits earthly happiness and social justice, demonstrating that eschatology and hope do not threaten earthly happiness and social justice (the conventional view), but actually foster them
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Advance praise: 'David Elliot's excellent new monograph takes up a neglected topic - the theological virtue of hope - and elegantly defends it from various contemporary criticisms and misunderstandings. What Elliot shows us is that we actually cannot do without the crucial hinge of hope in any richly-reflective ethics of virtue; and he draws deeply on both ancient and modern sources to prove it. Thought-provoking and illuminating by turns, and beautifully written too, this book can be recommended to all students of ethics who seek to understand how to resist the contemporary forces of cynicism and despair.' Sarah Coakley, Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity, University of Cambridge

    Advance praise: 'Faith and love have always played a central part in Christian theology, but the theological virtue of hope has been relatively neglected. David Elliot shows how much we have to learn from a focused study of hope understood in Aquinas’ terms as a theological virtue. The other-worldly orientation of hope might suggest that it has little relevance for our worldly lives, but he argues that hope is the only effective remedy for the many forms of presumption and despair that undermine our personal and public lives. Elliot develops this argument through subtle, detailed examinations of these vices as they manifest themselves through cynicism, apathy, worldliness, and false self-sufficiency, drawing on the full range of Christian reflection on the virtues while engaging contemporary moral philosophers such as Phillipa Foot, Rosalind Hursthouse, and Richard Rorty. This book reflects considerable philosophical sophistication and theological depth, and it will set a benchmark for studies in virtue ethics for many years to come.' Jean Porter, John A. O'Brien Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame, Indiana

    Advance praise: 'In this lyrical yet learned essay on hope, David Elliot redeems this neglected virtue from too many years in the shadows. Hope brings good news to an age that desperately needs it, bridging the 'eudaimonia gap'. Deftly delineating the contours of theological hope in relation to the opposed vices of presumption and despair, Hope and Christian Ethics offers up a fresh Thomistic portrait of the virtue, spiced by spirited exchanges with a host of promoters and detractors, past and present.' Jennifer Herdt, Gilbert Stark Professor of Christian Ethics, Yale University, Connecticut

    Advance praise: 'David Elliot offers a penetrating account of hope rooted in the thought of Aquinas that would impress even the most ardent Thomist. Yet he capaciously engages a great breadth of the Western intellectual tradition from the Greeks and Romans, through Nietzsche, to contemporary scholars including John Bowlin, Jeffrey Stout, and Timothy Jackson. He manages to recover long-neglected resources from the tradition on hope - such as despair, presumption, and worldliness - in a manner both intellectually robust and readily practically applicable. On top of all this Elliot writes simply exquisite prose. With this book Elliot joins Josef Pieper in setting the standard for scholarship on hope.' William C. Mattison III, University of Notre Dame, Indiana

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107156173
    • length: 276 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 160 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.62kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. The Eudaimonia gap
    2. The theological virtue of hope in Aquinas
    3. Rejoicing in hope
    4. Presumption and moral reform
    5. Despair and consolation
    6. The problem of worldliness
    7. Hope and the Earthly City

  • Author

    David Elliot, Catholic University of America, Washington DC
    David Elliot is Assistant Professor of Moral Theology and Ethics at the Catholic University of America, Washington, DC. He received his Ph.D. in Moral Theology from the University of Notre Dame, followed by a three-year postdoctoral fellowship as Research Associate in Theological Ethics at the University of Cambridge, where he was concurrently a Research Associate in ethics at the Von Hügel Institute, St Edmund's College, Cambridge. His work on hope was recently awarded the Essay and Book Prize from the Character Project of the Templeton Foundation for its contribution to the study of character.

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