Augustine’s Two Cities Revisited. Contemporary Approaches to De civitate Dei

Gregory W. Lee, Anthony Dupont

This is article presents the current state of discussion in contemporary interpretation and appropriation of Augustine’s social and political vision in City of God, attending particularly to Augustine’s two cities framework for conceiving the relation between Church and world. Th e two cities are trans-national, trans-historical communities distinguished by their diff erent loves. While they are primarily eschatological communities, the earthly and heavenly cities are nevertheless manifest in empirical social realities and inextricably intermingled with each other during this earthly existence. It is precisely this dynamic that generates the ambiguities and interpretive diversity characteristic of current scholarly discussion of Augustine’s political theology. The two cities framework undergirds Augustine’s position on a variety of issues this article treats in turn: pagan virtue, Christian participation in non-Christian political orders, and the nature of politics. The final section provides a roadmap for contemporary proposals concerning Augustine’s political theology.


Keywords: Augustine of Hippo · City of God · Politics · Pagan virtue · Church-State

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