I was thinking about reading The City of God by St. Augustine, but I got bogged down by the question of what edition to procure: I ended up at Goodreads looking at the various editions and user reviews, and, although I am normally most stringent about attribution and intellectual property matters, I’m going to make an exception and indulge myself in a little game Edwin Turner of Biblioklept likes to call “selections from [ ] reviews of [ ].” (If you’re one of the authors of the selection I’ve quoted from this page & you object to this use of your review without proper attribution, kindly notify me & I’ll act accordingly.)
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Selections from reviews of St. Augustine’s The City of God
4 stars just for style alone.
I stumbled across Augustine when I was teenager and I remember this being much more profound.
He’s too tough on sex. Even marriage sex is shameful?
I had no idea what I was getting into when I began this book. It sometimes felt like it would never end, but it was a great experience.
His arguments are piss-poor and he cherry picks evidence in a manner which comes across as being childish and willful. It definitely gave me a better understanding of why Christianity is such a fragmented belief system. Any religion which claims unfocused crap like this as being “foundational” is going to have huge problems down the road.
I found myself getting annoyed by the superfluous wording and repetition of a thought.
I wanted to read this book for several reasons: obviously it is classic and also I enjoy reading Augustine, but at the same time I am sometimes puzzled why we so earnestly labor to prove that America was the new Israel? I think that this book would be helpful to American christians, as I see parallels in our “expression” of Christianity in America with the decline of morality within our society as well.
The City of God is a work of almost infinite tedium. Augustine indulges every half-baked whim of biblical exegesis, shoddy philosophy, selective reasoning, and fanciful speculation that pops into his head. Many readers have mistaken this random mishmash for depth of thought.
It’s so perfectly organized and clear, despite the convoluted subject matter, and sometimes so charmingly snarky, it just made me want to go back in time and hug him. His theology is a little disappointing, though.
Six is the perfect number?
He thought he found a giant’s tooth. Probably a dinosaur?
He does have some awesome insights though, so it was definitely worth reading. Also, all that Dark Ages pessimism and lack of scientific knowledge–it was expected (obviously), but still really sad. Made me want to go back in time (again), pat him on the back, and explain to him how a magnet works.
Needless to say, my lack of faith remained unshaken in the end.
He assumes a 6000 year old earth
In summary, Augustine gets a hug and a pat on the back, because despite being more than a thousand years old, his work has more personality than most things written today.