Books that Matter: The City of God

Books that Matter: The City of God
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24 episodes in this series

Episode 1 Your Passport to 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…
Episode 2 Who Was Augustine of Hippo?
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…
Episode 3 The Sack of Rome, 410 A.D.
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…
Episode 4 Augustine's Pagan and Christian Audience
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…
Episode 5 The Problem of Suffering (Book 1)
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…
Episode 6 The Price of Empire (Books 2-3)
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…
Episode 7 Augustine's Political Vision (Book 4)
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…
Episode 8 Splendid Vices and Happiness in Hope (Book 5)
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…
Episode 9 Public Religion in Imperial Rome (Books 6-7)
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…
Episode 10 Who or What Is God? (Books 8-9)
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…
Episode 11 Sacrifice and Ritual (Book 10)
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…
Episode 12 Augustine's Critique of Rome (Books 1-10)
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…
Episode 13 Metaphysics of Creation and Evil (Book 11)
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…
Episode 14 Fall of the Rebel Angels (Book 12)
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…
Episode 15 Augustine and Original Sin (Book 13)
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…
Episode 16 The Two Cities and the Two Loves (Book 14)
Continue your study of original sin and what it implies about how we should live in this earthly world. Here, Augustine conjures up two cities - the city of flesh…
Episode 17 Augustine's Scriptural History (Books 15-17)
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…
Episode 18 Translating the Imperium (Book 18)
Once Augustine completes his survey of history, one big question remains: Once all the worldly empires, including Rome, have fallen, what next? If the earthly city's days are over, how…
Episode 19 Happiness and Politics (Book 19)
In Augustine's view, we are living in an "epilogue" to history. The Fall and the Resurrection have occurred, and we are awaiting the Last Judgment. In this lecture, you'll encounter…
Episode 20 Judgments, Last and Otherwise (Book 20)
We have reached the last section of The City of God. If Book 19 was about worldly wisdom, then Book 20 is about other-worldly wisdom. Reflect on the meaning and…
Episode 21 Augustine's Vision of Hell (Book 21)
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…
Episode 22 Heaven: The Self Redeemed (Book 22)
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…
Episode 23 The City of God as a Single Book
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…
Episode 24 The City of God's Journey through History
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…

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