The City of God
Originally, De Civitate Dei contra Paganos
or, The City of God against the Pagans
Augustine’s The City of God, a monumental work of religious lore, philosophy, and history, was written as a kind of literary tombstone for Roman culture. Begun in 413 A.D., this is one of the great first achievements in the history of Christian thought, laying foundations for modern Western society which followed.
After the sacking of Rome, Augustine wrote this book to show the inevitable result of the corruption of the Roman world and their pursuit of earthly pleasures. 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 the book of Revelation. Augustine was one of the first great Christian scholars, and his arguments against utopianism and defense of the richness of Christian culture remain useful and strong. It is “a giant of a book” in the course of world history.
About the Author
Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430 A. D.) was born and educated in North Africa, and embraced Christianity in 386, thanks in large part of his mother Monica’s prayers and encouragement. Within a decade he had become Bishop of Hippo (a roman city in present-day Algeria) where he would live out his life serving the Church in matters ranging from opposing heresies to tending the individuals under his care. In addition to The City of God, Augustine also authored his Confessions, considered by many the first Western autobiography.