Date Presented

Spring 3-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Religious Studies

First Advisor

Stephen Dawson

Second Advisor

N. Scott Amos

Third Advisor

Laura Kicklighter


Augustine’s The City of God is a foundational theological text for the development of Christian thought across time. Over the centuries, political scientists and theologians have been especially interested in this text in a variety of ways, but for the purposes of this discussion, the focus will be on Books I-V and Book XIX. Typically, theologians have been interested in Augustine’s rebuttal of pagan claims that are found in the first five books, while political scientists focus most of their attention on Book XIX for its discussion of the highest ends of the state through the means of politics in a context characterized by fallen humanity. Studying the arguments set forth in these two sections independently of one another has proved to produce valuable additions to both theological and political science scholarship; however, by ignoring the other sections, scholars will have a limited understanding of Augustine’s view on the highest good. It is essential to read Books I-V and Book XIX in light of one another because Augustine is filling in the gaps in his own arguments; because The City of God was a work that was developed over thirteen years, it is absolutely necessary for theologians and political scientists to have read both portions of the text, so they are able to understand the full meaning of Augustine’s completed arguments.