On the city of God against the pagans often called The City of God, is a book of Christian philosophy written in Latin by Augustine of Hippo in the early 5th. Book 2 In this book Augustine reviews those calamities which the Romans suffered before the time of Christ, and while the worship of the false gods was. No book except the Bible itself had a greater influence on the Middle Ages than City of God. Since medieval Europe was the cradle of today's Western civilization .
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The first ten books of The City of God, which make up the first part of the work, refute the pagans' charges that Christians brought about the fall of Rome. The first. City of God book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. No book except the Bible itself had a greater influence on the Middle. A masterpiece of Western culture, The City of God was written in response to pagan The City of God, philosophical treatise vindicating Christianity written by the In Book XXII of City of God, the great Church Father Augustine of Hippo.
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Sep 03, Great Book Study rated it it was amazing Shelves: Took almost a year to read, but worth it. What is there to say about perhaps the greatest book ever written, other than Thanks be to God.
View 1 comment. Sep 09, Joshua Nomen-Mutatio rated it it was ok Shelves: Could not finish it. Don't care to. It's a rather lengthy and often times boring read. I got enough of the gist by making it about halfway through and then skipping around through the rest. His unsurprising righteous indignation about the truth and beauty of 4th century Christian doctrine and the falsity and demoralizing nature of "paganism" makes me want to run for the bathroom.
But when I look upon it as a book written by a man whose mind would've been blown by the mere revelation that the Ear Could not finish it. But when I look upon it as a book written by a man whose mind would've been blown by the mere revelation that the Earth is indeed spherical rather than a dinner plate shaped planet in the apple of God's eye, well, then I can appreciate it a little more on other levels that don't so dramatically offend my need for more plausible understandings of reality.
It was really only enjoyable as a historical record of the tail end of the protracted decline of the Roman Empire and the impending rise of Christianity.
View all 9 comments. Dec 06, Justin Evans rated it it was amazing Shelves: Any star rating is entirely meaningless. This is a ludicrous book, astonishing in scope, and in desperate need of an editor to make sense of it.
I simply can't; it's overwhelming. Arid stretches of rhetoric suddenly cough up a fascinating philosophical argument, which then itself belches forth more arid rhetoric, and so on. Augustine takes the ancient pagan beliefs to pieces by showing that they simply can't be rationalized--then immediately forgets the obvious lesson and tries to rationalize Ch Any star rating is entirely meaningless.
Augustine takes the ancient pagan beliefs to pieces by showing that they simply can't be rationalized--then immediately forgets the obvious lesson and tries to rationalize Christianity in order to defend it. Who the hell am I to criticize, though? That said, I'd much rather read about this book than read it again.
Never before have I felt the ancient's wisdom so strongly: Apr 04, Rob Roy rated it really liked it Shelves: This is a monumental work of theology. Written just after the sacking of Rome, it starts by answering how God could allow a Christian city to fall. This proceeds with a detailed attack on paganism, and a defense of Christianity. He belabors these points, but then goes on to a treatise on Christian theology which sets a decided uncompromising tone. He endorses the predestination arguments later made by Calvin, and shows a narrow moral view.
What you get is an excellent view of the early Christian This is a monumental work of theology. What you get is an excellent view of the early Christian Church, a church and time very different from today.
Jan 08, Jeremy is currently reading it Shelves: See my reading plan here cityofgod I read parts of this in an graduate English seminar at Baylor in Constantine Con. Council of Nicaea - A born - —3: A becomes professor of rhetoric in Milan - A converts to Xnity - A becomes bishop of Hippo North Africa - Augustine and His World x: Ciceronian ["cardinal"] virtues; Quintilian's understanding of the connection between virtue, speaking, and citizenship; Julius Caesar killed in 1c for fear that he would seize "a more permanent and 'presidential' power"—ironic that later emperors did just that Roman Republic slowly shifted to an Empire over centuries xi: Pliny's panegyric to Emperor Trajan compares T to Jupiter benevolent god ; Roman syncretism made Xns stand out wouldn't treat emperors as gods xi—xii: Eusebius E; first Xn biographer; wrote Con.
It is to be found in the secular classics too. A wrote "open letters" to Marcellinus M , "but M was asking for something more substantial"—so he got CoG at least first few books xvii: Roman syncretism led to its destruction; premodern assumption of a world filled with spirits, both local and cosmic xx: Plotinus denounced astrology; A renounced his earlier fascination with it xx: Roman paganism was syncretistic Greek, Egyptian xxi: Sallustius on gods: Jerome and celibacy xxv—xxvii: A was surprised by Faustus's rhetorical sophistry ; A went to Italy to teach rhetoric deceived his mother and became a professor in ; similarly surprised by Ambrose's rhetorical skill in preaching; mother arrived in ; converted to Xnity in garden; tolle lege ; resigned as rhetoric teacher xxvii—xxix: Tertullian Athens vs.
Jersusalem and Cyprian rigorists—no return for those who apostatize; Decius's decree required sacrifices to pagan gods —51 ; Diocletian's edict closing Xn churches and confiscating Scriptures; persecution ended in ; Donatist issue xxxi—xxxiii: Pelagius from Britain?
Augustine's Book xxxiii: Books 1—10 are against pagan arguments; Books 11—14 are about the origin of the Two Cities [2C]; Books 15—17 are about the growth of the 2C; Books 18—22 are about the purposes of the 2C xxxiv: A "win[s] assent by recasting familiar ideas" such as "true sacrifice" xxvii: The Plan of the Book xxxix: A thought of this as his magnum opus see p.
Books 11—22 include more Scripture bc A assumes that anyone still with him has accepted his previous arguments; Books 11—14 are about the origin of the CoG, and Books 15—17 are about its growth; Books 18—22 concern the earthly city and its mixture with the CoG IV.
The City of God xliv: Babylon xlvii: Augustine's Readership, Augustine's Influence liii—liv: CoG is "a source of a main stream of ideas about every Christian's need in every age to work out for him- or herself the relationship between the world of political present reality and the world to come"; encouragement "to form the habit of setting what they do in the context of eternity" Book 1 Preface: CoG; barbarian who sacked Rome [ Alaric ] spared Xns who claimed sanctuary in sacred places; some who escaped now blame X and Xns, but they're inconsistent, bc they didn't praise X for either their escape or the good that happened before; God uses war 1.
Virgil is a great poet and was read by children to form their minds Horace ; Juno mentions "Troy's vanquished gods," and Aeneas calls them "conquered gods" the poets weren't lying ; it's irrational to say that Rome was sacked because the gods weren't honored—actually, Rome's gods would have perished long before if people hadn't been trying to preserve them 1. Troy, the mother of Romans, couldn't save its people, although they honored the gods; the sanctuary of Juno queen of the gods was used to hold prisoners; maybe the Greeks spared people in temples, but if so, Virgil lied 1.
Sallust truthful historian makes no mention of sparing those in temples 1. Xn suffering leads to moral improvement; "strangers" and "heavenly country" language; unfortunately, even virtuous people often love this life too much; good example of Job 1. Nov 06, James rated it it was amazing. This book weighs in at over 1, pages - 22 books in the original. Fortunately for the reader, St.
The City of God, Volume I by Bishop of Hippo Saint Augustine
Augustine frequently wanders from his main theme, for many pages at a time, providing fascinating explorations of why the number 11 symbolises sin short answer: These questions are digressions, but they do help to make the book palatabl This book weighs in at over 1, pages - 22 books in the original.
These questions are digressions, but they do help to make the book palatable to the modern reader. Perhaps the best way to read is to plunge into the book a few hundred pages in; beginning at the beginning is like beginning the Bible at Genesis 1: Augustine wrote the book during the years The "City of God" should on no account be confused with the "Mystical City of God", an even more voluminous work by a 17th-century Spanish nun named Maria of Agreda.
Mar 24, booklady added it Shelves: Read this back in the 's but now I want to reread it. I know I would get a lot more out of it. One of the great classics in all of Christian--no, check that--human history, The City of God presents two contrasting groups of people, or to use the imagery of the book, two contrasting cities: Everyone in the world falls into either one city or the other, and Augustine painstakingly lays out their origins, their history, and their destiny.
This fifth century book was the classic Christian book throughout the church's history until the individualism of the Enlighte One of the great classics in all of Christian--no, check that--human history, The City of God presents two contrasting groups of people, or to use the imagery of the book, two contrasting cities: This fifth century book was the classic Christian book throughout the church's history until the individualism of the Enlightenment finally overpowered it in the twentieth century.
But what Augustine does here is what the individualism of the modern world claims it wants so badly: He defines Christian identity by placing it within the Christian community both historically and in the present day.
Augustine's implication is clear: This is certainly a difficult book to read, primarily for its imposing length, but also because so much of the history is so far removed from our everyday experience.
That said, the theological narrative is clear throughout, and the hope that drives the work toward its conclusion makes it one of the most important books ever written.
Ironically, I switched my major at Grinnell College from history to religion because of this book. We had just read Thucydides in the Historiography class, the last course required to complete the major, when Professor Kintner assigned De civitate Dei. That weekend, openig the tome and beginning to read, I decided it was simply too much.
Augustine seemed to be psychotic polemics, not history.
Being a junior and having accumulated a lot of religion credits almost by chance, I determined a switch Ironically, I switched my major at Grinnell College from history to religion because of this book. Being a junior and having accumulated a lot of religion credits almost by chance, I determined a switch was doable in the time remaining and that I'd learn more of the history I was interested in by making the switch.
Years later, working part-time for Ares Press, a publisher of books about the classics and ancient history, and seeking employment at a great books college which included De civitate Dei in its reading list, I picked up the book again and this time read through the thing.
It wasn't fun, nor was it particularly interesting, but it did make a lot more sense that it would have when I was twenty. The Grinnell religion degree, the subsequent M. Nov 20, Pinkyivan rated it really liked it Shelves: I did it. Feels good man. Huh, this is a lot shorter than I thought it was - it appears to be a lot longer in iBooks.
I'll go ahead and finish it, and then I'd like to get one of the longer-but-abridged editions around p. But I can't download books right now, so maybe I'll be stuck with the unabridged version I'll have a review up in a few days after I've reviewed March: Book One. I'll start the unabridged version, but I'm thinking I might stop after I finish vol.
This it was that sited my zeal for the House of God, and induced me to defend the City of God against the calumny and misrepresentations of her foes.
After many serious interruptions this great undertaking, which was extended over many years, was at length finished in twenty-two books.
The first five are written in answer to those who believe that worldly prosperity is insured by the old polytheistic religion of Rome, and that calamities have followed by reason of its neglect. The next five are addressed to those who admit that the human race is always exposed to such misfortunes, and yet believe that the old religion is a good preparation for the life to come; …while the last twelve books of this extensive work are devoted to a comparison of the different origins, histories, and destinies of the City of God and the City of the World.
He describes some of the disasters that befell Rome before the spread of Christianity, such as the civil wars that led to the fall of the Republic. Whoever thinks otherwise is blind…" - Augustine rejects the criticism that the concept of the Incarnation demeans the idea of a powerful God: He argues that allowing evil in some aspects of the world is necessary for good, although from the human perspective we can't have a complete understanding of how this works: IX "On the Creation of Angels".
The enemies of God are so through voluntary sin, and not by nature: For there is no nature of evil, but the loss of the good is called evil.
Oct 24, Isaac rated it liked it. I don't really know how to review something like this in a format that I've used primarily for rating fiction, but I'll give it a shot. The three stars are not meant as some kind of snobbish modern judgment on The City of God but my attempt to balance its theological and historical significance with the difficulty and not infrequent irrelevancy of the material.
Augustine was adept at philosophy and rhetoric, keen in his exegetical analysis, and thorough in his argumentation, but many of the topi I don't really know how to review something like this in a format that I've used primarily for rating fiction, but I'll give it a shot.
Augustine was adept at philosophy and rhetoric, keen in his exegetical analysis, and thorough in his argumentation, but many of the topics discussed and many of the frequent digressions, excurses, and flights of fancy are tedious to the modern reader, even a sympathetic one.
A suggestion: If you're interested in the theology of the work, skip the first ten chapters. I hate skipping stuff, especially when I'm trying to get through classic works. I plowed through every word of this thing and I assure you -- you don't need to.
You won't miss anything. Augustine's arguments against the Roman gods and the ancient Roman worldview s are really tough to get into.
He spends a great deal of time explaining and then arguing against theories about the world that we would never dream of countenancing, with disproportionate amounts of time devoted to refuting very minor sub-points of philosophical systems. Things pick up a bit at ch. We also get his take on biblical history with a hearty dose of typological interpretation that treads on and across the border with the allegorical not infrequently.
The book is full of intriguing observations and theological insights. The last three chapters deal with final judgment and the eternal state in ways that continue to be influential in contemporary theology. Augustine's eschatology is, I think, a major piece in the development of amillennialism. Perhaps sometime I'll come back here and put in a few of my notes. Let me conclude for now with a quote that had me laughing out loud.
It comes from the section describing the surprising operations of the human body in special cases that hint at how we shall live once our resurrected bodies submit entirely to our redeemed wills. Some have such command of their bowels, that they can break wind continuously at pleasure, so as to produce the effect of singing XIV.
I read The City of God over six months last year in a translation by Henry Bettenson which runs to pages in my Penguin Classics edition. As Joe Morecraft says, this is a book on everything.
I am not going to review it; all I feel that I can do is gesture helplessly in its general direction. May 24, Douglas Wilson rated it really liked it Shelves: Augustine is widely considered the most important of the early church fathers.
He was born in North Africa in A. Indeed, the very nature of the argument c Augustine is widely considered the most important of the early church fathers. Indeed, the very nature of the argument concerning Christ and Culture was framed by Augustine in City of God. It is a massive volume, a little over one thousand pages of translated Latin.
The work is broken up into twenty-two books, or chapters as we would call them today. Each book is then broken up into small chapters. This organization allows the reader to move through the book topically, and makes it easy to read in small sections. The first half of the work focuses on Rome and pagan theology and philosophy—critiquing and exposing it as demon worship. The second half of the work focuses on the two cities—the City of God and the City of Man.
First time readers will find the second half the most rewarding and the easiest-going. But there is profit in the first half—even for the modern day reader. Augustine is one of the pre-eminent Christian thinkers in the church, and his insights into pagan philosophy, though often arcane and hard to follow without a good understanding of pagan philosophy and religion, is sharp and incisive.
His thought is often provocatively simple and straightforward. Of this at least I am certain, that no one has ever died who was not destined to die some time. Now the end of life puts the longest life on a par with the shortest.
For of two things which have alike ceased to be, the one is not better, the other worse--the one greater, the other less. And of what consequence is it what kind of death puts an end to life, since he who has died once is not forced to go through the same ordeal a second time? And as in the daily casualties of life every man is, as it were, threatened with numberless deaths, so long as it remains uncertain which of them is his fate, I would ask whether it is not better to suffer one and die, than to live in fear of all?
These arguments are foundational to the Protestant project and the advancement of Christian thought in the world.
The two cities have been at odds since the fall of Lucifer and the descent of some angels into demons, who then tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The former, in a word, glories in itself, the latter in the Lord. For the one seeks glory from men; but the greatest glory of the other is God, the witness of conscience. The City of God is a small, but faithful remnant.
The City of Man follows those disobedient to God—in biblical times the majority of people. This contrast was perhaps most evident in the flood that covered the earth, when God spared only Noah and his family. This chronicle of the origins and history of the two cities is essentially a commentary on Genesis and the Old Testament—and a fine one at that. One of the most helpful insights from the two cities division is his understanding of the overlap of the two cities.
As Augustine writes, the two cities are at odds—their telos, or end, are in opposite directions—the City of God toward the glory of God, the City of Man toward glory of self. This divergence leads to conflict in understanding justice, the purpose of culture, the goal of education, and so on. So while the two cities have very different ends in mind, there is some overlap in interests. Yet even this people has a peace of its own which is not to be lightly esteemed, though, indeed, it shall not in the end enjoy it, because it makes no good use of it before the end.
But it is our interest that it enjoy this peace meanwhile in this life; for as long as the two cities are commingled, we also enjoy the peace of Babylon. For from Babylon the people of God is so freed that it meanwhile sojourns in its company.
And therefore the apostle also admonished the Church to pray for kings and those in authority, assigning as the reason, "that we may live a quiet and tranquil life in all godliness and love.
But there is great danger here, as he warns earlier in book XIX.
Therefore the citizens of the City of God ought to labor unto the City of God, forsaking the purposes of the City of Man for the enduring, Heavenly City. Christians ought to labor in advancing the City of God now, for the City of God is not only a future place, but a present one—with a history of faithful saints.
Those that have been faithful to God from Abel forward have labored in the City of God. The choice is not between the present and the future as so many believe. The options are faithfulness and unfaithfulness. Creating art, establishing justice, and having a family, are not earthly things—they are either labors in the City of God to the glory of God, or labors toward the City of Man to the glory of self. Faithful Christians understand, as Augustine did, that all of life is the establishment and advancement of the City of God, in incremental steps, toward the ultimate fulfillment of the new heavens and earth.
Things we may perceive as of only temporary value such as civil law, art, music, war, food, drink, sex, friendship, work are in fact of eternal significance if offered to the glory of God and his eternal city. Let us exert ourselves to the glory of God by offering our labors unto the City of God. I did like this book it's just that there were some parts that were harder than others for me to wrap my head around.
I leave it to each individual to form their own opinions. May 27, Czarny Pies rated it really liked it Recommends it for: People who find it on the required reading list of a course they are enrolled it. Recommended to Czarny by: Required reading for an undergraduate course. I give this book a four star rating in recognition of its enormous importance in world history. There is a strong argument for not reading it given the wildly different results that are obtained depending whether the edition that you happen upon is a Calvinistic or a Roman Catholic project.
Augustine's first achievement is to demonstrate the strengths of Christianity versus Pagan religion and Pagan Philosophy. His second achievement is that he provides a comforting explanation of why the Visi I give this book a four star rating in recognition of its enormous importance in world history.
His second achievement is that he provides a comforting explanation of why the Visigoths were able to sack Rome the centre of Christianity.
The City of God Reader’s Guide
He explains that Christians are citizens of the City of God and this is where our prime loyalty lies. Earthly cities are just places of temporary residence until we rise to Heaven. Disasters that befall earthly cities are of no consequence. The problem arises with the third major achievement. Augustine proposes a doctrine of predestination that is later picked up and more fully developed by Jean Calvin who in the process creates a compelling theological base to the Protestant Reformation.
Catholic editors and translators tend to produce versions of the City of God that provide relatively less support to Calvin while Protestant scholars tend to highlight the sections that support Calvin. Because the complete City of God is very long, abridgements are common which aggravates the pro-Catholic or pro-Reformation biais of the edition even more.
I chose to read a Catholic edition and found very little that supported Calvin. Take great care with your choice of edition.
Not reading it all is a legitimate option unless your are a theology student. Nov 21, Jon Pentecost rated it it was amazing Shelves: What else am I going to rate it? I guess part of what makes a book a theological classic is that it changes the way you think--and City of God is definitely that kind of book.
It's a stunning mix of addressing everything from the faults of Platonism to how Christian women should think through the threat of rape in an empire being pillaged by barbarians to tracing God's people throughout history to correcting those who think that church participation without faith and faithfulness is sufficient What else am I going to rate it?
It's a stunning mix of addressing everything from the faults of Platonism to how Christian women should think through the threat of rape in an empire being pillaged by barbarians to tracing God's people throughout history to correcting those who think that church participation without faith and faithfulness is sufficient to dealing with practical questions about the nature of resurrection bodies.
There's something for everyone. I learned a lot. What struck me the most was how careful an exegete he is, critiquing his opponents for citing Scripture out of context, and paying very close attention to the text. Even when he proposed interpretations that I didn't see, it was typically responding to details in the passage that I hadn't even noticed.
So I'm thankful for his example of careful attention to the words of Scripture. Augustine ends City of God by saying, "It may be too much for some, too little for others. Of both these groups I ask forgiveness. But of those for whom it is enough I make this request: Jan 19, Amy C. Reading this along with a Facebook group.
Just through book One now and really enjoying the book and the experience with the reading circle. The group's organizer posts a reading schedule and regular comments with the readings, and other commenters have been so valuable to read. I'm getting so much out of it because of the group. If you're reading it now or want to read it, check out the Reading the City of God group on Facebook.
Definitely a must read for every Christian! Intermission 1 6 May 26, Book X. Book IX. The Mediator between God and Man 4 9 May 14, Book VIII: Platonism and Christianity 4 8 May 12, Book VII.
The Theology of Varro the Scholar 7 13 Apr 17, Book V. Readers also enjoyed. About Augustine of Hippo. Augustine of Hippo. Augustine, St. Austin, was bishop of Hippo Regius present-day Annaba, Algeria. He was a Latin philosopher and theologian from the Africa Province of the Roman Empire and is generally considered as one of the greatest Christian thinkers of all times.
His writings were very influential in the development of Western Christianity. According to his contemporary Jerome, Augustine "established anew the ancient Faith. After his conversion to Christianity and his baptism in , Augustine developed his own approach to philosophy and theology, accommodating a variety of methods and different perspectives.
He believed that the grace of Christ was indispensable to human freedom, and he framed the concepts of original sin and just war. When the Western Roman Empire was starting to disintegrate, Augustine developed the concept of the Catholic Church as a spiritual City of God in a book of the same name , distinct from the material Earthly City. His thoughts profoundly influenced the medieval worldview. Augustine's City of God was closely identified with the Church, the community that worshiped the Trinity.
Many Protestants, especially Calvinists, consider him to be one of the theological fathers of the Protestant Reformation due to his teaching on salvation and divine grace.
In the Eastern Orthodox Church he is also considered a saint. He carries the additional title of Blessed. Among the Orthodox, he is called "Blessed Augustine" or "St. Augustine the Blessed". Santo Agostinho Books by Augustine of Hippo. Trivia About City of God. Quotes from City of God. They're just gangs of bandits. Welcome back.Augustine was adept at philosophy and rhetoric, keen in his exegetical analysis, and thorough in his argumentation, but many of the topics discussed and many of the frequent digressions, excurses, and flights of fancy are tedious to the modern reader, even a sympathetic one.
Things pick up a bit at ch. If you're interested in the theology of the work, skip the first ten chapters. In fine, the gentle Greeks appropriated that temple of Juno to the purposes of their own avarice and pride ; while these churches of Christ were chosen even by the savage barbarians as the fit scenes for humility and mercy. For he was not hard pressed by calamity, nor by any accusation, false or true , which he could not very well have lived down; there was, in short, no motive but only magnanimity urging him to seek death, and break away from the sweet detention of this life.
Chapter 6. They could indeed neither deliver nor lose that good which made themselves good. They, then, who are destined to die, need not be careful to inquire what death they are to die, but into what place death will usher them.