Item description for The City of God by Augustine, Marcus Dods & Thomas Merton...
Overview St. Augustine's view of history and humanity reflect his dedication to Christian thought and theology
Publishers Description 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.
"From the Trade Paperback edition."
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Studio: The Modern Library
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.32" Width: 5.59" Height: 1.75" Weight: 2.15 lbs.
Release Date Feb 1, 1994
Publisher Modern Library
ISBN 0679600876 ISBN13 9780679600879
Availability 0 units.
More About Augustine, Marcus Dods & Thomas Merton
St Augustine of Hippo, the great Doctor of the Latin Church, was born at Thagaste in North Africa, in 354 CE. He was brought up as a Christian but he was soon converted to the Manichean religion. He also came under the influence of Neoplatonism. However, in 387 he renounced all his unorthodox beliefs and was baptized into Christianity. His surviving works have profoundly influenced Christian theology and the psychology and political theology of the West.
Reviews - What do customers think about The City of God?
Tough going, but worth it May 14, 2008
It took me about five months of off-and-on reading to slog through City of God--it was time well-spent. Here is one of the rare 1000-page books that not only deserved its length, but could have been longer.
What astounded me about reading St. Augustine was how relevant he is, even after 1600 years. The vast majority of what he discusses throughout this monumental book still matters--only the particulars have changed. In his day, pagans blamed Christians for wars and the collapse of civilization. Rationalists and materialists denied the supernatural, insisting that all religions were the same, and mocked those that believed in it. And Christians themselves, under pressure and guilt from what seemed to be the entire known world, expressed doubts about their faith. Sound familiar? Only the particulars of all these situations have changed--in the broadstrokes, Christianity is still fighting many of the same battles in which Augustine saw combat.
This edition from Penguin Classics (I fully realize that this site will post this review on the Modern Library edition and other places that it doesn't belong) is very good. Henry Bettenson's translation is smooth, fast-moving, and heavily footnoted. While I found the footnotes very helpful--especially in the hundreds of places in which Augustine quotes from scripture and other authors, like Virgil and Plotinus--some of them struck me as unnecessary, particularly those criticizing Augustine's etymologies and those pointing out which gods or goddesses are or are not found outside Augustine's work. The most helpful notes were those describing puns or other untranslatable portions of the book.
Like I said, City of God is very heavy reading and a great deal of work to get through, but the reward should outweigh the time it takes to read the book.
The Best Kindle Edition of This Work Mar 21, 2008
For those without a Kindle this review will have little to offer except to say that this edition comes with a preface by Thomas Merton which for me was a welcome surprise. I usually don't bother with introductions.
Kindle users, I looked at every Kindle edition of this work and this is without question the best formatted version. The only drawback is the lack of titles for each "book" in the table of contents. Instead they are just numbered; I, II, III, IV, and so on. There are also hyperlinked "footnotes," which I did not notice in other editions.
I apologize to Kindle non-owners, but this site has not yet presented away to comment specifically on electronic editions, and many public domain books--classics--are not yet properly formatted for the Kindle (which despite a few hitches is a five star device).
Unworthy printing of a most worthy version Nov 2, 2007
This is not the most attractive edition of St. Augustine's monumental City of God but it is worth getting anyway for the introduction by Etienne Gilson. The translation is quite good and, though it is somewhat abridged, this doesn't pose too great a problem as Bourke has inserted into the text a brief description of the material that he cut out so you can go to an unabridged edition if you choose.
City of God Aug 31, 2007
This is an apologetic text in defence of the Chritian faith. In this book, Augustine persuasively informed his audience (readers) regarding the history of creation from the fall of humanity to their redemption provided they recognized him as God of their lives. This is possible only as they abandon all forms of idolatries lest they experience a catatrosphe similar to what led to the fall of Rome. Augustine's concept of the two cities are in contrast to each other, viz, the city of God versus the city of Satan. The former is governed by God, and the later by the Devil that also governs the minds of many un-regenerated. Thus, Augustine appealed, in his 22 volumes that are now in a single volume, to join him "in rendering thanks to God" through this great work! Pastor Moses Oladele Taiwo, Ph.D. Professor of New Testament and Head of the Department of Urban Christian Ministry, New Life Theological Seminary, Charlotte, NC 28203. Tel: (704) 334 6884 Ext.106.
Some things are better read about than read Aug 16, 2007
I read this for a book group I was in, and was rather peeved at being forced to blow so much time on what is essentially useful only to the Classical historian or Scholasticism buff. Realistically, Augustine is just a particularly eloquent proponent of a religious argument we all get in Sunday School at age 10: The things of this world are transitory and passing, but the things of the next world are eternal and more valuable. You can almost hear the monotonous cadence.
If what you want is to add to your already-considerable knowledge of the particulars of late Roman civilization, then this is the book for you. If you're in seminary and reading Aquinas, and you're thinking, "I'd certainly like to know more about his major intellectual influences," then this is the book for you.
But if what you want is an increased familiarity with the major ideas of Western civilization, then do yourself a favor and go pick up a pair of textbooks: one on ancient history, the other on classical philosophy. Augustine of Hippo will get a few pages in each one, and that's honestly all he's worth. Plowing through the entirety of The City of God for simple philosophical or theological curiosity would be like reading the complete works of Louis Agassiz just to see what scientific racism was like. Both efforts would be fruitful, in one sense, but in another sense you'd have spent an awful lot of time learning about antiquated theories.