READING/STUDY GUIDE #5
Augustine: City of God :
Book XIV: 12-14
Book XIX: 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 21, 23, 24
Context: Augustine is writing the City of God at the beginning of the 5 century CE. The two
most important events are 1) Christianity has recently become (380 CE) the official religion of the
Roman Empire and 2) Rome falls to the Visigoths (410 CE). Naturally, manypeople made a
connection between the rise of Christianity and the fallof Rome. Augustine sets out a
comprehensive defense of Christianity against this accusation.
Hint on interpretation: I have assigned a lot about evil and how it comes into the world.
Augustine believes that if there were no evil in the world, there would be no politics. Indeed
politics is a response to the particular way humans can be evil.
• How does evil come into the world? Who is to blame? If God causes everything and
knows everything, is he then the author of evil? Does that make himevil?
• In what ways did human nature change after Adam and Eve fell from grace? What role do
pride and lust play in this story? What does the story of Adam and Eve have to do with
• St. Augustine's description of human life is pretty grim. Why do we bother to live through
it? What kind of happiness can we expect in this world?
• What are the two cities? What are their main characteristics and how do they differ? How
do we know who belongs to which city? (note: Augustine’s discussion of the two cities
runs through many of the chapters I have assigned rather tha