Augustine and the Two Cities

“The earthly city will not be everlasting; for when it is condemned to the final punishment it will no longer be a city. It has its good in this world, and rejoices to participate in it with such gladness as can be derived from things of such a kind”.
Augustine, The City of God, Book XV, (Reader p.3)
“One part of the earthly city has been made into an image of the Heavenly City, by symbolizing something other than itself…For it was established not for its own sake but in order to symbolize another City”
Augustine The City of God, Book XV (Reader p.2)
In Augustine’s view, even though the earthly city is corrupted by sin, and follows in the legacy of Cain, it is not simply ‘evil’. Rather, Augustine believes the earthly city “has its good in this world”. He also believes (see City of God Book II) that the pagan Romans, for all their sins of pride and glory-hunting, achieved great things. Discuss the different aspects of Augustine’s conception of the earthly city. What does he means when he says that the City of God can be seen in the world as an ‘image’, or symbol? How does Augustine use Rome and Jerusalem as symbols for the human condition?
Augustine, The City of God, Book XV and Book XIX (extracts) trans Henry Bettenson, London, Penguin, 2003
Todd Breyfogle, ‘Citizenship and Signs: Rethinking Augustine on the Two Cities’ (edited), in Ryan K. Balot (ed), A Companion to Greek and Roman Political Thought, Oxford, Blackwell, 2009, pp 501-26

Note: a glossary of the Latin terms in Breyfogle’s article is listed below:
Civitas = city; ecclesia = church; societas = society, fellowship, mutual association; invidia = envy; amor sui = love of self; amor Dei = love of God; intellectus = reason; voluntas = will; caritas = love, care, charity

Additional primary sources
MT Cicero, ‘The Dream of Scipio’ and other extracts from On the Republic [De re publica]
Additional readings:
Peter Brown, Augustine of Hippo, chs 25 and 26
Ivor J Davidson, A Public Faith: From Constantine to the Medieval World (Oxford, Monarch, 2005), ch 6
H Richard Niebuhr, Christ and Culture (New York: Harper and Row, 1956), ch 1: ‘The Enduring Problem’
Peter Brown, Through the Eye of a Needle: Wealth, the Fall of Rome and the Making of Christianity in the West (Princeton UP, 2012)
David Burchell, ‘Citizenship and Culture’, in Richard Whatmore and Brian Young (ed), A Companion to Intellectual History, London, Wiley-Blackwell, 2015 (forthcoming)
Jean Bethke Elshtain, ‘The Earthly City and its Discontents’  and ‘”Our Business within this Common Mortal Life”: Augustine and a Politics of Limits’, from Augustine and the Limits of Politics (South Bend IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1995)
Jean Bethke Elshtain, ‘Augustine’, in Peter Scott and William Cavanaugh (eds), The Blackwell Companion to Political Theology (Oxford, 2007)
Robert Markus, Saeculum: History and Society in the Theology of St Augustine (Cambridge UP, 1970; new edn, 2007)
Jean Bethke Elshtain, ‘Why Augustine, Why Now?’, Catholic University Law Review, 52, 2002-2003
John Von Heyking, Augustine and Politics as Longing in the World (Uni of Missouri Press, 2001)
Paul Weithman, ‘Augustine’s Political Philosophy’, in Eleonore Stump and Norman Kretzmann (eds), The Cambridge Companion to Augustine (Cambridge UP, 2001)

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