Few books have impacted the West as deeply as St. Augustine's The City of God, not only in politics and philosophy, but in the spirit, with its exploration of the relationship between a loving God and a shattered world. Thomas Aquinas, Charlemagne, John Calvin, Hannah Arendt, and Pope Benedict XVI all drew from the text's deep and varied wells.
Yet few of us will ever read the gargantuan work which stretches past one thousand pages. This volume, however, edited by Hans Urs von Balthasar, offers a simple road through Augustine's masterpiece. It contains selections from The City of God, culled for their beauty and spiritual power, bolstered with notes, and arranged by theme, from creation to Rome to happiness to the end of time. In Augustine, the heart is as crucial as the mind.
This edition is intended above all for prayer and meditation. Still, for readers who wish to engage Augustine on a critical level, the introduction by Balthasar--recipient of the 1984 International Paul VI Prize under Pope John Paul II--provides a rigorous analysis of the City, with an eye on the philosophical and theological discourse of the twentieth century.