City of God (St. Augustine)


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Slides on St. Augustine's City of God for an undergraduate course in Political Thought that I taught between 2003-2005.

Published in: Spiritual

City of God (St. Augustine)

  1. 1. St. Augustine: The City of God
  2. 2. Overview <ul><li>Who was Saint Augustine? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the two cities? </li></ul><ul><li>What lessons can we discern from St. Augustine’s conception of the two cities? </li></ul>
  3. 3. Aside: Context <ul><li>Towards the end of the Roman Empire, the Catholic Church became a significant political entity </li></ul><ul><li>The relationship between Church and State became increasingly problematic </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Also known as the doctrine of the two swords </li></ul><ul><li>The doctrine submits that there are two swords of power: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sacred </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Royal </li></ul></ul>The Gelasian doctrine <ul><li>sovereign in spiritual matters </li></ul><ul><li>sovereign in temporal affairs </li></ul>
  5. 5. St. Augustine (354-430) <ul><li>African convert to Christianity </li></ul><ul><li>Baptized into the Christian faith by St. Ambrose (387 AD) </li></ul><ul><li>Became Bishop of Hippo in (396 AD) </li></ul><ul><li>Wrote numerous treatises </li></ul><ul><li>Recognized as a Father of the Church </li></ul>
  6. 6. City of God : Assumptions <ul><li>The City of God is a Catholic treatise </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Belief in one God </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>God is the architect of all creation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>God is infinite truth and goodness </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. The Two Cities <ul><li>Human society can be divided into two cities depending on how men choose to live </li></ul><ul><ul><li>City of Man </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Men choose to live according to themselves </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>City of God </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Men live according to God’s design/laws </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. The City of Man <ul><li>Those who live after the flesh </li></ul><ul><li>Love of self, even to the contempt of God </li></ul><ul><li>Basis of rule: the love of ruling </li></ul><ul><li>Glories in human wisdom and strength </li></ul><ul><li>Finite </li></ul>
  9. 9. The City of God <ul><li>Those who live after the Spirit </li></ul><ul><li>Love of God, even to the contempt of self </li></ul><ul><li>Basis of Rule: Love </li></ul><ul><li>“There is no human wisdom, only godliness…” </li></ul><ul><li>Everlasting </li></ul>
  10. 10. On The Two Cities… <ul><li>Both cities overlap </li></ul><ul><li>Both desire peace </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The City of Man desires peace to enjoy earthly goods </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The aim of the City of God is to achieve eternal peace (eternal life in peace) </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. On The Two Cities… <ul><li>Both use earthly resources to attain their respective peace </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For the City of Man, this includes the waging of war </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For the City of God, the use of temporal things aids in the attainment of eternal peace </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Analysis <ul><li>Both exhibit the fundamental concepts of rule, peace and justice </li></ul><ul><li>Rule in the City of God is more constructive </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Service to those who are ruled </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Has its basis in duty </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Analysis <ul><li>The peace achieved in the City of God is proper to man </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No lasting peace has befallen the City of Man </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Peace in the City of God suits man’s rational soul </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Analysis <ul><li>True justice is only proper to the City of God </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“That virtue which gives every one his due.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A republic cannot be administered without justice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Justice is rooted in God’s divine laws </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Lessons <ul><li>There have to be underlying principles that govern human affairs </li></ul><ul><li>Peace is a means to an end </li></ul><ul><li>Rule or authority should be undertaken as a service or out of duty to one’s fellows </li></ul>