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Books That Matter: The City of God Lecture

Books That Matter: The City of God

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Publisher's Summary

Augustine of Hippo's masterpiece The City of God is one of the greatest books ever written, yet its size - nearly 1,000 pages - too often intimidates even serious readers. Composed in the years after the sack of Rome in the fifth century, it ushers you on an astounding historical and theological journey through the final years of the ancient world. What made this book so powerful? What mysteries lie within it? What relevance does the 1,600-year-old text have for our world today? And how should contemporary readers approach this monumental text?

Now is your chance to answer these questions and more with this profound survey of one of the world's truly great books. Over the course of 24 in-depth lectures, Professor Mathewes guides you chapter by chapter through Augustine's magnum opus, introducing you not only to the book's key arguments but also to the historical context necessary to comprehend The City of God's true power.

Here, you'll discover that Augustine was a surprisingly modern man with a clear-eyed outlook on a world in transition - and whose ideas continue to influence us today. Witness how he wrestled with some of the thorniest philosophical challenges of any time, including the problem of evil, faith versus reason, fate versus free will, and the very nature of God. Although there are no easy answers, Augustine's approach is ultimately therapeutic, helping readers live "happy in hope", which, he argues, is the only true happiness in a fallen world.

Whether you come to this book as a Christian, a philosopher, a historian, a literature lover, or simply someone who wants fresh insight into our world today, Augustine will revolutionize the way you think about politics, religion, history, and our relationship to the divine. Professor Mathewes delivers a magnificent introduction to one of the world's truly great books.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2016 The Great Courses (P)2016 The Teaching Company, LLC

What Members Say

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4.8 (6 )
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  •  
    Roisin Deighan 17/03/2017
    Roisin Deighan 17/03/2017 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    3
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    Performance
    Story
    "A tour de force"

    I thoroughly recommend Professor Mathewes course on one of the great books in human history. He addresses the major themes of The City of God with passion, eloquence and erudition. It will inspire any serious thinker who wants to explore the great questions of human existence.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Daniel McCormick
    12/12/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Incredible presentation of an incredible work"

    Join in this pilgrimage through Augustine's City of God - it's well worth your time!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    25/11/16
    Overall
    "A Wonderful Journey Through Abstractions"

    Fantastic listen for anybody with a Christian background or interest in antiquity. The course succeeds in providing it's listeners with a fresh perspective on politics and daily life in general. It's a great aerial perspective on human nature.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Eric S. Bindewald
    14/01/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Engaging and insightful
    "

    This is a book that has long sat on my shelf - barely started and abandoned. These lectures make the themes of the book accessible and give a context for understanding Augustine and the world he lived in.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Eric Roush
    17/04/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Gloriassisima"

    Exceptional lecturer, funny and insightful, on a topic worthy of reflection. Looking forward to more lectures from him.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Lucy Joukhajian
    United States
    27/04/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "truly, a great course! + essential for historians!"

    This has to be my favorite "audiobook" by far! I've enjoyed these lectures so much, from the style of the narrative, to the content, to the wisdom of the commentary. I will listen to it again for sure.
    I especially want to recommend this to all my historian friends. Whether they're believers or not, they should listen to this audiobook and read the City of God. It's relevant for understanding the ancient, medieval, and modern world, and illuminates so much of the context we live in today.
    Oh, and Professor Mathewes is an excellent lecturer. I hope I can attend a lecture of his live some day, now that I've listened to this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • David Macfarlane
    02/04/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great read"

    this is a great way to approach one of the more exhaustive and difficult books. approaching the City of God can be a little daunting, but the professor does a good job of both respecting Augustine's vast intellect while making him accessible to the average listener.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • HeavyScissors
    04/01/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A partisan celebration of Augustine's views"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    No. It gives a good overview of A's arguments and vision, for a modern person sympathetic to traditional Western Christianity. But Mathewes does not even try to hide his theological enthusiasm for A's ideas. He does not engage critically with his most controversial theories of original sin and predestination. And he makes a number of glib comments about contemporary religion and its politics that are frustrating for someone interested in a serious historical study.


    Would you recommend Books That Matter: The City of God to your friends? Why or why not?

    No


    What does Professor Charles Mathewes bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Good lecturing style, if sometimes overly clever


    Do you think Books That Matter: The City of God needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No


    3 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Scott
    Holiday, FL, United States
    17/02/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "This is not the book "The City of God"!"

    This is not the book "The City of God" which is what I THOUGHT I was buying. Instead it's a narrative ABOUT the book. I listened for several hours this morning thinking this had to be the worlds longest introduction to a book and the more I listened the more p.o.'ed I got because I really like to do my own thinking thank you. I have several hundred titles and have never returned a book but this one needs to go back.

    2 of 19 people found this review helpful

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