Augustine on Hope in Times of Suffering

Matthew Drever

University of Tulsa, USA , United States


This article examines the way Augustine draws on the theological virtue of hope to address how people should live in times of suffering. Of the three theological virtues – faith, hope, and love – hope is the least explored theme in contemporary Augustinian scholarship. This article develops a framework for Augustine’s model of hope from his Enchiridion and then applies it to select Sermons and Letters. Through this, we see that for Augustine hope does not represent either an anesthetizing, otherworldly vision that neglects suffering or an extreme ascetic embrace of suffering. Rather, hope seeks the transcendent good that acknowledges the profound depth of suffering while also maintaining a vision of happiness to come. Here, Augustine draws on hope to maintain a tension between temporal and eternal life, between the present reality of suffering and the future hope of happiness. We will also see a close connection between hope and its compatriots of faith and love, a connection Augustine utilizes to explore how hope transforms the moral and spiritual principles that guide our actions in the world.


Augustine, hope, suffering, Theological Virtues, sermons, letters, Enchiridion

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Drever, M. (2022). Augustine on Hope in Times of Suffering. Vox Patrum, 82, 145–166.

Matthew Drever
University of Tulsa, USA


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