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A Commonwealth of Hope - by Michael Lamb (Hardcover)

A Commonwealth of Hope - by  Michael Lamb (Hardcover) - image 1 of 1
A Commonwealth of Hope - by  Michael Lamb (Hardcover) - image 1 of 1
$39.99When purchased online

About this item


Dimensions (Overall): 9.4 Inches (H) x 6.1 Inches (W) x 1.6 Inches (D)
Weight: 1.85 Pounds
Suggested Age: 22 Years and Up
Number of Pages: 448
Genre: Political Science
Sub-Genre: History & Theory
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Format: Hardcover
Author: Michael Lamb
Language: English
Street Date: November 1, 2022
TCIN: 84915574
UPC: 9780691226330
Item Number (DPCI): 247-34-4948
Origin: Made in the USA or Imported


About the Book

"Augustine of Hippo is one of the most influential thinkers in the history of political thought but whose writings are among the most contested in contemporary political theory. Many critics target Augustine's pessimism, arguing that his fixation on sin and longing for the heavenly city deny the value of this-worldly politics. Rather than challenging this pessimism, many defenders parlay it for their own purposes, invoking Augustine to chasten political optimism or encourage religious citizens to withdraw from the public square. Situating Augustine within his political, rhetorical, and religious contexts and integrating insights from political theory, religious studies, theology, and philosophy, Michael Lamb aims to paint a different picture of Augustine's political thought. In particular, Lamb draws on the full range of Augustine's writings, including neglected treatises, sermons, and letters, to retrieve Augustine's idea of hope as a civic virtue, one which is neither optimistic or pessimistic. By illuminating this understudied virtue and engaging critics on their own terms, Lamb challenges prevailing interpretations of Augustinian pessimism while supplying a novel and capacious vision of Augustine's political thought"--

Book Synopsis

A bold new interpretation of Augustine's virtue of hope and its place in political life

When it comes to politics, Augustine of Hippo is renowned as one of history's great pessimists, with his sights set firmly on the heavenly city rather than the public square. Many have enlisted him to chasten political hopes, highlighting the realities of evil and encouraging citizens instead to cast their hopes on heaven. A Commonwealth of Hope challenges prevailing interpretations of Augustinian pessimism, offering a new vision of his political thought that can also help today's citizens sustain hope in the face of despair.

Amid rising inequality, injustice, and political division, many citizens wonder what to hope for in politics and whether it is possible to forge common hopes in a deeply polarized society. Michael Lamb takes up this challenge, offering the first in-depth analysis of Augustine's virtue of hope and its profound implications for political life. He draws on a wide range of Augustine's writings--including neglected sermons, letters, and treatises--and integrates insights from political theory, religious studies, theology, and philosophy. Lamb shows how diverse citizens, both religious and secular, can unite around common hopes for the commonwealth.

Recovering this understudied virtue and situating Augustine within his political, rhetorical, and religious contexts, A Commonwealth of Hope reveals how Augustine's virtue of hope can help us resist the politics of presumption and despair and confront the challenges of our time.

Review Quotes

"[Lamb] enters a thoroughly overcrowded senior common room, but he does so with panache in this his first major book. He writes clearly and demonstrates an impressive knowledge of primary and secondary sources. . . . Any thoughtful Christian who engages with secular colleagues in the public domain today might learn from this new book."---Canon Robin Gill, Church Times

"A fascinating revisionist view of the political thought of St. Augustine. Contrary to a popular perception of Augustine as an otherworldly thinker who accents 'darkness and pessimism, ' Lamb sketches a persuasive portrait of a thinker who 'encourages a realistic hope for a better form of community not only in heaven but on earth.'"---E.J. Dionne, The Washington Post

"Excellent."---Frank Litton, The Irish Catholic

"Michael Lamb's A Commonwealth of Hope: Augustine's Political Thought is an important intervention not only in Augustine studies, but also in our politics of stagnation and hopelessness."---Terence Sweeney, Public Discourse

"[Lamb] introduces his readers to another Augustine. This Augustine was not a pessimist but a champion of hope. He encouraged his hearers to hope for the well-being of the city. And he possessed an expansive vision of Christians and non-Christians working together to improve their lives on earth."---Aaron Alexander Zubia, Wall Street Journal

About the Author

Michael Lamb is the F. M. Kirby Foundation Chair of Leadership and Character, associate professor of interdisciplinary humanities, and executive director of the Program for Leadership and Character at Wake Forest University. He is also a research fellow with the Oxford Character Project. Twitter @KMLamb
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Shipping details

Estimated ship dimensions: 1.6 inches length x 6.1 inches width x 9.4 inches height
Estimated ship weight: 1.85 pounds
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