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Customer Review

251 of 264 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For the ages..., April 11, 2001
This review is from: The City of God [The Modern Library] (Hardcover)
St Augustine's City of God is a work for the ages. It was not only a great apologetic to the Christian faith of the 5th century; it is an apologetic to Christian faith for all centuries. It is the story of history unfolded in two exact opposite cities. It is the struggle between the two cities against one another. It is the story of the fall, grace, redemption, and salvation of man for those who live in the city of God. For those of the other city, it is the exact opposite. It is the story of the fall, judgment, damnation and ultimate destruction of those who loved themselves more than they loved God. This was the story of love, by one of the greatest saints of the Catholic Church, Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.
The reason I give 4 stars out of 5 is because of the amazing difficulty that comes with reading this book. This is a VERY VERY heavy read, and one should be familiar with the prevailing Roman philosophies of the day, as well as Roman history.
Augustine talks of Plato, Cicero, Virgil and others frequently through the book. He also talks of the history of Rome, and these factors play a heavy note in his book. An few survey classes of Philosophy, and a World Civics class as well as a decent understanding of Christian history at this time, and theology is also a must. You should be familiar with the scriptures. Because of all these factors, you cannot just pickup and read this book. You'll have to know what Augustine is talking about to some level before you read this.
Other than that, this book is brilliance, and while some parts will be a little dry, it is very inspiring. You see Augustine write, sign, and stamp the doctrine of Original Sin, Amillinialism, and doctrines concerning Grace, the Trinity, and various "problems" concerning the Canon of Scripture.
He setup Christianity for the next 1000 years, and is still felt strongly today in Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox circles.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 9, 2010 7:11:06 AM PDT
Carol Apple says:
I agree the philosophical and historical background would make this book less difficult to read. I have a little of that kind of background from previous reading, but I am not exactly well-versed in the finer points of Plato or Roman history. But I find that this book is a fascinating way to learn about these very topics. Augustine actually explains Roman history and classical philosophy more clearly than any author I have ever read. And if you get to a point in the book where you have absolutely no idea what he is talking about, you can always Google it, read up, and keep reading!

Posted on Jul 8, 2014 7:26:12 AM PDT
G. Maske says:
The reviewer says Augustine set up Christianity for the next thousand years. You realize, of course that these are known to history as the Middle Ages, no small part of which is called the Dark Ages.

This millenium was characterized by an unholy church/state alliance dominated by Roman popes, the Word of God hidden in church libraries, and the Crusades.

So I find the reviewer's words extremely ironic. Augustine was apparently a sincere believer but his scholastic and oratorical abilities resulted in a spiritualization of the Scriptures such that the Word could not be taken at face value and was effectively put out of the grasp the vast majority of professing Christians. Tens of millions in Christendom today still believe that the Bible is a murky document needing interpretation to the masses. This in contrast with the holy apostles, who spoke plainly.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2014 9:02:43 PM PST
VA Mom says:
G. Maske, your view of history and of Augustine reflects your modern and anti-Catholic biases. Your assertion that the Bible is a plain document not needing interpretation is contradicted by the fact that there are 30,000 different varieties of Protestantism, all teaching that their own interpretation is correct. And your assertion is also contradicted by scripture itself:

2 Peter 3:15 Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 6, 2014 10:45:15 AM PST
RornDoone says:
I am buying the book, not reviewing it, yet my heart is compelled to comment on this review and its subsequent exchange of comments. I am just a Christ-seeker. I am not Catholic. Because of this, most Catholics label me as Protestant, though my main inspiration, short of Jesus Christ himself, is Theresa of Calcutta. While I have countless, dear Christian, Catholic, Protestant, atheist, agnostic, pagan, Buddhist, Wiccan, and Universalist friends, I do not consider myself of any religious circle. Because of this, most Protestants consider me "lost." I love them, anyway. I believe that organized religion, in its current form, is very nearly godless, "a form of religion denying the power thereof." I don't believe Jesus called his followers to be "religious." He called us to to believe in him, and him crucified. Contrary to religion, Jesus called us to himself. In a struggle to prove who is right, pleeeeeeeze don't miss the fact that the God of the universe came to be a man and bore the weight of every person's cheap-shots against him -- throughout past, present and future -- on his own shoulders, a burden far exceeding that of some puny wooden cross, so that when he died, he could drag all that sin down into the grave with him in order to create a way to offer us something so much better -- the blood-bought right to commune with God himself and to be adopted into his family -- forever. And by being resurrected (the #1 most documented fact in all of human history), he was proven right! Jesus is whom we love and obey. HIS religion is demonstrated simply by what we do. In fact, the apostle Paul said, "True and undefiled religion is this: to visit the sick and to comfort the widowed and fatherless." Jesus simply commanded us to love one another, and he offered it as his sole, original and genuine manufacturer's mark. Jesus blasted those that he knew held onto and enslaved others to the "traditions of men" instead of the way of God, but he also showed the literalists that there existed a deeper, undiscovered, spiritual meaning within the basic Law of God. Throughout the history of Christendom, many cling to points of religious legality and completely miss what David must have seen when he meditated on, and rejoiced in, God's Law. I'm pretty convinced that he was seeing something so much more blessed, spiritual, and life-giving than what color hair was growing out of a man's mole or what color of mold was growing in a house. When one (anyone) who calls themselves "Christian" places anything between themselves, their Master, and clear interpretation of God's Word as illuminated solely by the Holy Spirit, I believe they come in close danger of falling into idolatry, for Paul also wrote, "Call no one father but God alone." I believe in the priesthood of all believers, in that each is directly and personally accountable to God alone, as Paul said, "There is one God, and one mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ." Paul also referred to the same when he asked the simple question, "Who are you to judge another man's servant?" and "if anyone disagrees with me, God will also make it clear to you." See, we're not left out there as orphans, relying on some kind of wolf in lamb's clothing to guide us to God. We are each given the Holy Spirit to illuminate God's Word -- and thus our path.

VA Mom -- It really is true that the next thousand years were called the Dark Ages, or the Middle Ages, and certain Catholic leaders really did contribute to that in an unholy power-high, while the Master of the Universe put on the garment and nature of a slave and said that if any of us wants to be truly great we have to become the servants of everyone.

G. Maske -- The main reason they were called the Dark Ages is that barbarians conquered Rome and the whole of Europe fell into feudalism. Don't blame the Catholics. Yes, the system itself did fall into the hands of power-hungry, (I must say it) godless men -- but Catholicism DID single-handedly protect and revere the Scriptures when the whole known world was largely illiterate and thought books were worthless.

So. . . read Augustine. Marvel at his wisdom and intelligence. Marvel at the fact that this book even survived to make it onto Kindle! Still and all, try and not judge and label each other. Above all, pleeeze don't miss Jesus as The Point, and keep seeking. God has promised us, "You will seek me and you will find me, if you seek with all your heart." Blessing, peace, and love to you.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 20, 2015 4:25:23 PM PDT
Dear RornDoone,

You hardly sound "Lost" to me! Your words indicate you are a true believer, not a religious person who plays church. I do believe that Christians are called to assemble together regularly, but this is not the essence of our faith. A sincere love for God and others, no matter how undeserving, are the true signs of a converted soul.

Posted on Sep 3, 2015 8:37:34 PM PDT
S says:
"you cannot just pickup and read this book" Of course someone can just pick up and read this book what a silly comment. It's as if you don't want people to read it for some reason. The audiobook of it is free on youtube too.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 17, 2015 11:15:21 PM PST
Kyle says:
G. Maske, the Crusades were a defensive action taken by the Christian world in response to Muslim aggression. So that they happened was not a black mark on the history of Christianity.
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