Monday, April 09, 2007

Augustine on hope and sin

Some thoughts of Augustine of Hippo on sin and, of particular interest for readers of the Purgatorio, on the Pauline understanding of hope:
I see that it is necessary for me to make here an additional remark, that we are saved by hope. "But hope that is seen is not hope; for what a man sees, why does he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it." Romans 8:24-25

Another look at hope:

Radical Hope is first of all an analysis of what is involved when a culture dies. This has been the fate of many aboriginal peoples in the last couple of centuries. Jonathan Lear takes as the main subject of his study the Crow tribe of the western US, who were more or less pressured to give up their hunting way of life and enter a reservation near the end of the nineteenth century.

The issue is not genocide. Many of the Crow people survive; but their culture is gone. Lear takes as his basic text a statement by the tribe's great chief, Plenty Coups, describing the transition many years after in the late 1920s, near the end of his life: "When the buffalo went away the hearts of my people fell to the ground, and they could not lift them up again. After this nothing happened." NYRB

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