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Translation by William Babcock
Notes by Boniface Ramsey
Along with his Confessions, The City of God is undoubtedly St. Augustine’s most influential work. In the context of what begins as a lengthy critique of classic Roman religion and a defense of Christianity, Augustine touches upon numerous topics, including the role of grace, the original state of humanity, the possibility of waging a just war, the ideal form of government, and the nature of heaven and hell. But his major concern is the difference between the City of God and the City of Man – one built on love of God, the other on love of self. One cannot but be moved and impressed by the author’s breadth of interest and penetrating intelligence. For all those who are interested in the greatest classics of Christian antiquity, The City of God is indispensible.
This long-awaited translation by William Babcock is published in two volumes, with an introduction and annotation that make Augustine’s monumental work approachable. Books 11-22 offer Augustine’s Christian view of history, including the Christian view of human destiny. The INDEX for Books 1-22 (both volumes of The City of God) is contained in this edition.
“This is a magnificent new translation, sure to be welcomed by readers of Augustine old and new. It is certainly worthy of a place among the great translations of this work, offering an eminently readable and accurate rendition. One forgets one is reading a translation -- isn't that the goal of all great translating? Highly recommended. “
Professor of Theology and Director of the Institute for Church Life, University of Notre Dame
“This lucid translation of Augustine’s complicated Latin text, complemented by an expert introduction and helpful notes, is a remarkable achievement indeed. A new jewel in the crown of an already famous series that is highly appreciated worldwide.”
Johannes van Oort,
Editor of Vigiliae Christianae; Author of Jerusalem and Babylon (1991; paperback: Leiden-Boston 2012)
“City of God is read by theologians and philosophers, classicists and historians of ideas. All will be grateful to William Babcock for his new subheadings and summaries, which trace the articulations of Augustine’s carefully connected argument. Babcock’s long reflection and deep understanding, expressed in his outstanding Introduction, shape every sentence of this clear and thoughtful translation.”
Professor Emerita, University of Bristol; Co-editor, Oxford Early Christian Studies
“The monumental City of God has astonishingly relevant things to say to an age of postmodernism, secularism, multiculturalism and globalisation. This affordable new translation with useful notes will make this masterpiece accessible to the 21st century reader. “
Professor of Classics, University of St. Andrews
[T]his translation fully justifies the praise that has already been heaped on it. Lyrical without any sacrifice of sense, it compares consistently well with both Dyson and Bettenson and is certainly the most beautiful and up-to-date of the existing versions … Augustine used multiple Latin versions of the Bible besides Jerome’s, including his own, and one great advantage of the edition under review is that, where past translators have used pre-existent English versions of the Vulgate for scriptural citations, Babcock renders each scriptural quotation directly and individually … Babcock takes the unique step of removing the titular headings which have formed an integral part of the work since the first printed edition, but which are in all probability non-authorial … Its absence has a clarifying effect … The notes are comprehensive enough to suffice for any level of reader and are given as footnotes for ease of reference (neatly including the kind of material on key people and events that is glossarial in the Cambridge University Press edition) … [A] truly new, elegant and intelligent translation well worth both the committed Augustinian’s and the neophyte’s while.
Emmanuel College, Cambridge
Read the full review at Marginalia (the Journal of the Medieval Reading Group at the University of Cambridge)
One of the better things happening in the world of Patristics is the quiet yet steady work going on at New City Press towards producing a contemporary English translation of most of St. Augustine’s extensive corpus. The latest release in its effort is the first of a two-volume edition of The City of God, beautifully and lucidly translated by William Babcock. Volume 1 provides us with not only Books 1-10 of City of God’s 22 books but also contains Babcock’s excellent introduction to the whole treatise, in addition to an extensively detailed table of contents. Read More...
Citizens of Heaven