(P)1995 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
I have always enjoyed St. Augustine. From the confessions to On the Trinity, he is a pleasure to read, and now listen. This book will give the reader, listener, a brief history of the fall of the Roman Empire and then explain how Christians were dealing with that event. Augustine emphasizes the notion that, as a Christian, one should not expect the things of this world to last. He uses the fall of the Roman empire to illustrate this point. Thus, we have the title, City of God. As a Christian one needs to identify them-self with the City of God not the city of man.
As I said earlier, this is a great book; if you can get through it. It is very long. It took me a semester of college to read most of the 'important parts' and about two months to listen to it in its entirety. So I hope all who download this book will push on through because there are many priceless pearls of truth with in the pages of this book.
I prefer listening to this kind of book rather than reading it because I can get through it while driving or walking.
As a Catholic priest, I would naturally be sympathetic to the argument of the author, but as a human being, I am always concerned with an author's learning, logic, honesty, and openness. I think St. Augustine rates high in all these categories. Even if one would not agree with him in a given instance, I think most people would at least say he had good reasons for his opinion, expressed them well, and did not needlessly minimize the opinions of others. I would in fact think of this work as something of a model for "ecumenical dialogue."
I would rate the narrator of this book as "born for this kind of presentation." His English accent adds class to the reading. In fact, I may tackle his narration of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire one of these days.
Finally, compared to the translation we have in our house library, I would consider this translation more elegant, clearer, and much more acceptable to the modern ear.
Augustine demonstrates his theory that Christianity is based on faith and not man's thinking yet is fully rational. While much of his apologetics deal with Roman gods and beliefs, they are an outstanding example of how we can reason our faith to the shame of scoffers.
I felt the narrator a bit stuffy, though. While his voice gave a sense of antiquity, I thought his reading style a bit tedious. To his credit, Augustine does use Pauline sentence structure (quite long and difficult sentences) and it is a monstrously long book.
"It's The City of God. Dull but necessary..."
On the book... A huge amount of it is broadly irrelevant to modern thought and can be taken as given, such as the arguments against polytheism, but they are interesting (to a degree) none the less. Some of his scientific claims are hilarious, but the argumentation is fascinating. If you've not read it and you just want a run through it's a good choice, but it's not the sort of thing you do for pleasure...
Reading is good, as Bernard Mayes sounds as bored as some of the scribes must have been at the time and captures Augustine's long winded and (I imagine) bumbling style. The recording occasionally repeats itself and none of the editors seem to have noticed, but I can't say I blame them...
It's one of those things you should read if you're going to comment on theology, just don't expect the audio equivalent of a page turner...
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