Charles Mathewes

Charles Mathewes >

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Your Passport to The City of God
Episode 1 of Books that Matter: The City of God
The City of God is a monumental work - not just for its scale and structure, but for what it asks of us as readers. In this first lecture, dive into the many layers of this powerful book, surveying why…
Who Was Augustine of Hippo?
Episode 2 of Books that Matter: The City of God
Examine the paradoxical life of Augustine: Who was he? Why is he such an important historical figure? You'll be surprised that much of what we may associate with him, such as his metaphysical dualism and his antidemocratic adherence to Church…
The Problem of Suffering (Book 1)
Episode 5 of Books that Matter: The City of God
Book 1 opens by addressing civic-minded Roman citizens looking for happiness in this life - a mistake, Augustine believes. By exploring the problem of evil and questions of suffering and suicide, you'll discover how Augustine's approach toward life differs from…
Augustine's Pagan and Christian Audience
Episode 4 of Books that Matter: The City of God
Before delving into the text of The City of God, Professor Mathewes sets the stage with some context about the many audiences that Augustine was writing for, as well as the arguments against Christians that he was confronting. See how…
The Sack of Rome, 410 A.D.
Episode 3 of Books that Matter: The City of God
While Roman elites viewed the sack of Rome as a turning point that changed the world forever, the event itself lasted only three days and served more as a catalyst for change than a cataclysm in its own right. In…
Augustine's Political Vision (Book 4)
Episode 7 of Books that Matter: The City of God
Augustine had a clearly defined political philosophy that ran against the grain of Roman beliefs. Here, examine his view that there is no distinction between gangsters and statesmen, and that the difference between conquering and theft is merely one of…
The Price of Empire (Books 2-3)
Episode 6 of Books that Matter: The City of God
Continue your study of Augustine's argument toward civic-minded Romans by reviewing his attacks on their morality and their sense of self-regard. Using their own historians as evidence, Augustine teases out the logical and psychological implications of the Romans' quest for…
Sacrifice and Ritual (Book 10)
Episode 11 of Books that Matter: The City of God
Once we understand God's immediacy and love for humanity, what next? What are humans meant to do in return? In book 10, Augustine takes aim at the transactional nature of Roman religion - offering sacrifice in return for special favors.…
Splendid Vices and Happiness in Hope (Book 5)
Episode 8 of Books that Matter: The City of God
In this lecture, you'll reach the climax of Augustine's argument toward civic-minded Romans, which answers the question of how best to pursue happiness while also being a good citizen. The answer takes you through a dazzling discussion of fate versus…
Who or What Is God? (Books 8-9)
Episode 10 of Books that Matter: The City of God
Of all the Roman philosophers, Augustine felt the most kinship with the Platonists, who had developed a transcendent view of God. Where they fell short, he believed, was in imagining God as a distant being, uninterested in material reality. For…
Public Religion in Imperial Rome (Books 6-7)
Episode 9 of Books that Matter: The City of God
Turn to The City of God's next set of arguments, which in Books 6 to 10 are aimed toward Roman philosophers who had a different - if still incorrect, according to Augustine - view of religion. After studying the role…
Augustine's Critique of Rome (Books 1-10)
Episode 12 of Books that Matter: The City of God
The City of God is arranged into two broad parts. Here at the halfway point, recap Books 1 through 10 and analyze the first half of the text as a whole. At this point, Augustine has laid the groundwork for…
Fall of the Rebel Angels (Book 12)
Episode 14 of Books that Matter: The City of God
Revisit the problem of evil as a reaction against the good of creation. Why would the rebel angels deny the good and allow themselves to fall? And what does Augustine's view of evil mean for humanity, beginning with Adam and…
The City of God's Journey through History
Episode 24 of Books that Matter: The City of God
Much has happened in the world after The City of God's publication, from the Vandals besieging Hippo in Northern Africa and the fall of Rome to what is arguably the end of Christendom in our modern era. In this final…
Metaphysics of Creation and Evil (Book 11)
Episode 13 of Books that Matter: The City of God
Now that Augustine has thoroughly critiqued Roman society, it's time to turn away from what he was arguing against and find out what he was arguing for. In this new beginning, Augustine uses biblical evidence to explore the world's creation…
Heaven: The Self Redeemed (Book 22)
Episode 22 of Books that Matter: The City of God
Now turn from the nature of Hell to the nature of Heaven. Here, review Augustine's account of Heaven, his vision of the final fulfilled state of the human, and the realization of God. See how he works to resolve one…
Augustine and Original Sin (Book 13)
Episode 15 of Books that Matter: The City of God
Settle into a powerful analysis of original sin, the condition humans inherited from Adam and Eve after the Fall. Professor Mathewes shows that while Augustine's vision may seem bleak on the surface - with people as zombies roaming the earth…
Augustine's Scriptural History (Books 15-17)
Episode 17 of Books that Matter: The City of God
In Books 15 to 17, Augustine begins to tell the history of the world through the lens of the Christian Bible. Scholars tend to overlook these books, but as you'll discover, they not only provide a remarkably complete history of…
The City of God as a Single Book
Episode 23 of Books that Matter: The City of God
The City of God is so searching, so wide reaching, so vast and so coherent that it has few rivals as an achievement of the human mind. Now that you have explored the entire text, step back and consider the…
Augustine's Vision of Hell (Book 21)
Episode 21 of Books that Matter: The City of God
Shift your attention from the end of the world to what happens after we die. Professor Mathewes delves into the deep questions of damnation: Why does Augustine believe Hell is real? What is the nature of suffering in Hell? And…