The City of God - Where to begin reading?

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Liam & Abi Maguire | Forum Activity | Posted: Thu, Oct 4 2018 8:40 AM

Augustine's The City of God is a massive work. No doubt he intended it to be read cover to cover, but does it need to be? 

Have you read it? ow did you read it? Are the core books, sections, chapters? Are some parts more essentially than others can some bits be skipped? 

How would you slice and dice it?

Welcome your thoughts as I consider a reading plan.

Cheers. Liam

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Oct 4 2018 9:48 AM

I just finished reading City of God last month for the first time and I simply read it from start to end at a pace of about a half hour or so per day. I found it a valuable way to read it.

FYI - My reading of City of God was part of reading group that I joined a few years ago called The Great Books Challenge which is attempting to read all 60 volumes of Encyclopedia Brittanica's Great Books of the Western World. - City of God was part of 3 works of Augustine found in Volume 16. I'm thinking that I may be the only one still participating in this challenge but I would be pleased to hear if anyone else is still doing it.

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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Oct 4 2018 12:26 PM

I think it wisest to read it straight through... However if there is nothing wrong with going to a section that really interests you and to dig in there first. The Bible may not necessarily be best read in order however I do think City of God is best read in order, in the same way that reading the books of Harry Potter series out of order might be more than acceptable but the current book you are reading assumes you have read the previous arguments meaning you will get more out of it reading it in order.


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William McFarland | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Oct 4 2018 5:17 PM

Years ago I was part of a Facebook reading group that read The City of God in a year. The group is named "Reading Augustine of Hippo." In their files section they have a schedule for reading The City of God in a year. It is a good way to spend the year. I have read several large works this way.


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Liam & Abi Maguire | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 5 2018 12:03 AM

Thank you for your replies gentlemen. I'll do a bit more digging, but as you all say, it appears that cover to cover is the best way. 

Have a great day. L

Check out my blog 'For Fathers'

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abondservant | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 6 2018 6:13 AM

I havent finished it, but I purchased it as an audiobook through audible. I listen while cleaning my house. As a kinesthetic learner I'm not too distracted by the activity, and have made good progress on the book. If I plan to read a book cover to cover, I frequently buy the audiobook as it allows me the freedom to squeeze in a little extra time while doing other things. Yard work, travel (but don't listen to City of God while driving - may fall asleep, maybe its just the narrator...) and so forth suddenly become times when you can study.

Im still relatively early in the book, and hoping it gets better.

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Rob | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Oct 7 2018 2:42 AM

I also used Audible to wade through City of God.

Great Courses also offers a series on the book too. The course enriched the reading tremendously.

The ride to work and back has become very enjoyable and quite worthwhile listening to these books.

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