“The Status of Politics in St. Augustine’s City of God”

Burnell, Peter. “The Status of Politics in St. Augustine’s City of God.” History of Political Thought, Vol. 13 (1992), 13-29.  


“St. Augustine regarded perfect happiness as social in nature1 but far from attainable by any society in this world:2 a combination of facts that brings into question the place of civil life in his thought. This was, indeed, a question for Augustine himself: he constantly changed his mind on the matter.3 Arguably even within de Civitate Dei itself, which gives his mature and most extended account of the subject, the years and distractions during its composition led to discrepancies on this central question.4 Actually its text yields a subtle but consistent treatment of the relationship between politics and the Christian Faith.5”

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