"The human mind can understand truth only by thinking, as is clear from Augustine." --Saint Thomas Aquinas Saint 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. One of the great cornerstones in the history of Christian thought, "The City of God "is vital to an understanding of modern Western society and how it came into being. Begun in A.D. 413, the book's initial purpose was to refute the charge that Christianity was to blame for the fall of Rome (which had occurred just three years earlier). Indeed, Augustine produced a wealth of evidence to prove that paganism bore within itself the seeds of its own destruction. However, over the next thirteen years that it took to complete the work, the brilliant ecclesiastic proceeded to his larger theme: a cosmic interpretation of history in terms of the struggle between good and evil. By means of his contrast of the earthly and heavenly cities--the one pagan, self-centered, and contemptuous of God and the other devout, God-centered, and in search of grace--Augustine explored and interpreted human history in relation to eternity.
This volume is accurately annotated, including * an extensive biography of the author and his life * working interactive footnotes De Civitate Dei, (full title: De Civitate Dei contra Paganos), translated in English as The City of God, is a book of Christian philosophy written in Latin by Augustine of Hippo in the early 5th century AD. It is one of Augustine's major works, standing alongside his The Confessions, On Christian Doctrine, and On the Trinity. Augustine is considered the most influential Father of the Church in Western Christianity, and The City of God profoundly shaped Western civilization. Augustine wrote the treatise to explain Christianity's relationship with competing religions and philosophies, as well as its relationship with the Roman government, with which it was increasingly intertwined. It was written soon after Rome was sacked by the Visigoths in 410. This event left Romans in a deep state of shock, and many saw it as punishment for abandoning traditional Roman religion for Catholic Christianity. It was in this atmosphere that Augustine set out to console Christians, writing that, even if the earthly rule of the Empire was imperiled, it was the City of God that would ultimately triumph. Augustine's eyes were fixed on Heaven, a theme of many Christian works of Late Antiquity. (from wikipedia.com)
One of the great cornerstones in the history of Christian philosophy, The City of God provides an insightful interpretation of the development of modern Western society and the origin of most Western thought. Contrasting earthly and heavenly cities--representing the omnipresent struggle between good and evil--Augustine explores human history in its relation to all eternity. In Thomas Merton's words, "The City of God is the autobiography of the Church written by the most Catholic of her great saints." This Modern Library Paperback Classics edition is a complete and unabridged version of the Marcus Dods translation.
Augustine touches upon numerous topics, including the role of grace, the original state of humanity, the possibility of waging a just war, the ideal form of government, and the nature of heaven and hell.
St Augustine, bishop of Hippo, was 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 the best political experiences of the world and offers citizenship that will last for eternity, City of God is one of the most influential documents in the development of Christianity.