Augustine’s Understanding of the City of God and the City of Man

Examines the influence of Saint Augustine on Western religious thought and analyzes his text City of God.

Saint Augustine presented the idea that faith and understanding (in the broad and narrow senses) go hand in hand. Because of this, his teachings were that to understand life, one must have faith, and to have faith, one must pursue an understanding of life. Augustine has proved to be one of the most influential thinkers in European and western history. While still a teenager, Augustine converted, became a priest, then the leader of the Church in North Africa, and, before he became Bishop and his writing career was virtually choked off, Augustine was a prolific producer of scriptural scholarly works. The City of God, which was written between the years 413 and 426, was Augustine’s response to the criticism leveled at Christianity by the pagans after they had sacked Rome in 410. This work represents Augustine’s most significant contribution to Western religious thought and, like many personalized texts, takes on the Aristotelian method of posing questions to the self in an argumentative fashion and systematically refuting and explaining away each.