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The City of God by Augustine of Hippo
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The City of God

by Augustine of Hippo

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Written by St. Augustine of Hippo (354 - 430) in Latin in the 5th Century under the title De civitate Dei contra paganos. First published 1467

From the publisher:

"St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, is one of the central figures in the history of Christianity, and City of God is one of his greatest theological works. Written as an eloquent defence of the faith at a time when the Roman Empire was on the brink of collapse, it examines the ancient pagan religions of Rome, the arguments of the Greek philosophers and the revelations of the Bible. Pointing the way forward to a citizenship that transcends worldly politics and will last for eternity, City of God is one of the most influential documents in the development of Christianity." "This edition contains a new introduction that examines the text in the light of contemporary Greek and Roman thought and political change. It demonstrates the importance of religious and literary influences on St. Augustine and his significance as a Christian thinker. There is also a chronology and a bibliography."

From The Britannica:

"The City of God, philosophical treatise vindicating Christianity written by the medieval philosopher Saint Augustine as De civitate Dei about 413–426 ce. A masterpiece of Western culture, The City of God was written in response to pagan claims that the sack of Rome by barbarians in 410 was one of the consequences of the abolition of pagan worship by Christian emperors. St. Augustine responded by asserting, to the contrary, that Christianity saved the city from complete destruction and that Rome’s fall was the result of internal moral decay. He further outlined his vision of two societies, that of the elect (“The City of God”) and that of the damned (“The City of Man”). These “cities” are symbolic embodiments of the two spiritual powers—faith and unbelief—that have contended with each other since the fall of the angels. They are inextricably intermingled on this earth and will remain so until time’s end. St. Augustine also developed his theological interpretation of human history, which he perceives as linear and predestined, beginning with creation and ending with the Second Coming of Christ.

The City of God was one of the most influential works of the Middle Ages. St. Augustine’s famous theory that people need government because they are sinful served as a model for church-state relations in medieval times. He also influenced the work of Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin and many other theologians throughout the centuries."
  St-Johns-Episcopal | Jun 14, 2017 |
a theological classic, a huge work. Best parts are where he discusses issues of predestination, the source of evil, the history and source of pagan religions and the reality of demonic powers. Also his discussion and interpretation of Revelation 20 and the millennium; and his extensive discussions on Genesis. In some places it might be alleged that he held views akin to Roman Catholicism in regard to purgatory and the sacramental and ecclesiastical system. However, this is not a major part of this work and much of it must be understood in the context of the 4th and 5th century, not in the context of Roman Catholicism from the 13th century onwards. The major weakness I feel in this work is his over-emphasis on the immortality of the soul, something which he admits is in line with Platonist philosophy. This is not established Biblically. He is morally conservative, in a liberalistic pagan society, this we need to take note of in the church today. Overall this is a great work to read, written by a great man, although let us remember he was still but a man. Very glad to have read it - worth the effort. ( )
  matthewgray | Jan 2, 2017 |
A Masterpiece of Christian Apologetics

St. Augustine started the book to address a pressing crisis and the practical problem of suffering, and then gradually rose to the height of Christian philosophy and theology that has rarely, if ever, been surpassed since. He gave a sweeping overview of ancient history, the history of the Jewish people intertwined with the history of the worldly empires (Roman and Assyrian), and revealed the main, though hidden, plot in the script of history, i.e., the birth, growth and maturation of the City of God, His Temple, the Body of Christ, His Image Incarnate. In the process, Augustine introduced and expounded the concepts of free will, original sin, God's foreknowledge and salvation, immortality of the soul, resurrection of the body, the parallel development of the City of God vs. the City of Man, the former destined for eternal life and the latter eternal punishment.

(Read full review at booksontrial.wordpress.com) ( )
  booksontrial | Oct 13, 2015 |
My review is far too long for Goodreads. Check out the full version on my blog: http://justintapp.blogspot.com/2015/03/the-city-of-god-by-augustine-of-hippo.htm...

Free at Gutenberg.org and Librivox.org
Augustine is probably the most-cited but least-read of the early church writers. Everyone claims a piece of him. I think the massiveness of this work keeps some people from starting, but I found it quite readable and interesting-- particularly if you want a good overview of Scripture. This is the longest and most important book I've consumed in a long time. It is highly rewarding. Every Christian should read this book. I listened to the audio, took notes, and reviewed the text.

The first ten books of this offer an apology to the Greco-Roman philosophers for the Judeo-Christian God over the purported deities and religious systems set forth first by the Greeks and later by the Romans. Books 11-17 deal with creation, time, the heavens, and foreknowledge of God. Augustine gives an incredible Jesus-on-every-page exposition of Genesis and then continues through book 18 through the rest of the Old Testament. In book 19 Augustine parallels walks through a timeline of world history, paralleling Jewish history with that of Egypt, Greece, Assyria, Babylon, and Rome. In Book 20 Augustine delves deeply into eschatology and an exposition of Revelation. His interpretation of prophecy is interesting, and he explores a few theories. In some places he takes as symbolic what others more commonly take as literal today. Augustine closes the work (Book 22) by recounting supernatural miracles he and others witnessed, as well as a treatment on the importance of a bodily resurrection.

Prerequisites for this book I'd recommend: Read Plato's Republic and some other works. I'm glad I read Xenophon's Memorable Thoughts of Socrates before I started this book. You might also check out Seneca and some stoics to understand a few lines of thoughts Augustine is engaging. You definitely should read an overview history of Greece and Rome beforehand. Also, an overview of the Old and New Testaments. I recommend Mark Dever's Promises Made (OT) and Promises Kept (NT).
I read Confessions before this, but it wasn't necessary. The audiences and intention of the book are quite different.
Also, know the word "felicity" as Augustine (translation) uses it frequently. It means an intense feeling of happiness. ( )
  justindtapp | Jun 3, 2015 |
I'm not going to pretend to have understood more than 10% of what I read/listened to.

My recommendation to any layperson who is planning on reading this is - don't.

If I could do it again, I would read it as part of a class or read something more accessible that summarized the essential and relevant points. ( )
  Scarchin | Mar 15, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (34 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Augustine of Hippoprimary authorall editionscalculated
Barker, ErnestIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bettenson, HenryTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bettenson, Henry ScowcroftTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bourke, Vernon J.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dods, MarcusTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dods, MarcusTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dods, MarcusTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dods, MarcusTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gilson, EtienneIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Giry, LouisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Healey, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Healey, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Knowles, Davidsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Merton, ThomasIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tasker, R.V.G.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Walsh, Gerald GrovelandTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zema, Demetrius B.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0140448942, Paperback)

Augustine's City of God, a monumental work of religious lore, philosophy, and history, was written as a kind of literary tombstone for Roman culture. After the sack of Rome, Augustine wrote this book to anatomize the corruption of Romans' pursuit of earthly pleasures: "grasping for praise, open-handed with their money; honest in the pursuit of wealth, they wanted to hoard glory." Augustine contrasts his condemnation of Rome with an exaltation of Christian culture. The glory that Rome failed to attain will only be realized by citizens of the City of God, the Heavenly Jerusalem foreseen in Revelation. Because City of God was written for men of classical learning--custodians of the culture Augustine sought to condemn--it is thick with Ciceronian circumlocutions, and makes many stark contrasts between "Your Virgil" and "Our Scriptures." Even if Augustine's prose strikes modern ears as a bit bombastic, and if his polarized Christian/pagan world is more binary than the one we live in today, his arguments against utopianism and his defense of the richness of Christian culture remain useful and strong. City of God is, as its final words proclaim itself to be, "a giant of a book." --Michael Joseph Gross

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:59 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

"St. Augustine of Hippo, is one of the central figures in the history of Christianity, and this book is one of his greatest theological works. Written as an eloquent defense of the faith at a time when the Roman Empire was on the brink of collapse, it examines the ancient pagan religions of Rome, the arguments of the Greek philosophers and the revelations of the Bible. Pointing the way forward to a citizenship that transcends worldly politics and will last for eternity, this book is one of the most influential documents in the development of Christianity" -- www.christianbook.com.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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