Monday, April 23, 2012

The City of God - St. Augustine

I found the edition of The City of God published by The Modern Library in 1950, translated from Latin by Marcus Dods, D. D., and with an introduction by Thomas Merton. The book is composed of 22 books; I couldnt make it after the 10th.

In fairness, Merton makes the following advertisement which I fully endorse after struggling with Augustine's prose unsuccessfully:

"The first of these suggestions is this: since, after all, The City of God reflects much of St. Augustine's own personality and is colored by it, the reader who has never met Augustine ought to go first of all to the Confessions. Once he gets to know the saint, he will be better able to understand Augustine's version of society. Then, no one who is not a specialist, with a good background of history or of theology or of philosophy, ought not to attempt to read the City, for the first time, beginning at page one. The living heart of the City is found in Book Nineteen, and this is the section that will make the most immediate appeal to us today because it is concerned with the theology of peace. However, Book Nineteen cannot be understood all by itself. The best source for solutions to the most problems it will raise is Book Fourteen, where the origin of the two Cities is sketched, in an essay on original sin. Finally, the last Book (Twenty-Two), which is perhaps the finest of them all, and a fitting climax to the whole work, will give the reader a broad view of St. Augustine's whole scheme because it describes the end of the City of God, the communal vision of the elect in Paradise, the contemplation which is the life of the 'City of Vision' in heaven and the whole purpose of man's creation."

So, I guess that I will read the Confessions and will report accordingly.

Alternatively, we always have youtube and its unbiased contributors:

1 comment:

  1. Estimado Cempa, las maneras de leer y escribir cambian radicalmente con los siglos. De las Confesiones, yo sólo recuerdo el capítulo diez, que es donde filosofa más sobre el tiempo presente, que engloba el pasado en la memoria y el futuro en potencia. Si empiezas por ahí, imagino que el resto será más agradable.