"REDESIGNING THE SHAPE OF HISTORY AUGUSTINE WOULD DOMINATE WESTERN THOUGHT FOR THE NEXT MILLENNIUM": RARE FIRST EDITION IN ENGLISH OF AUGUSTINES CITIE OF GOD
Of the Citie of God: With the Learned Comments of Jo. Lod. Vives.
Item Number: 2799
London: George Eld, 1610.
First edition in English of Augustine’s monumental work. Translated by John Healey. Folio, contemporary full brown calf. Front and rear panels double-ruled in gilt, gilt floral cornerpieces, spine double-ruled in gilt. Large woodcut printer’s device on title (McKerrow 375). Decorative woodcut head-pieces and decorative and woodcut initials, including three twelve-line initials. Binding shows some rubbing with some contemporary marginalia. Overall a very good copy of this scarce and important work, rare in contemporary calf.
One of the great cornerstones in the history of Christian thought, The City of God is vital to an understanding of modern Western society and how it came into being. Begun in A.D. 413, the book's initial purpose was to refute the charge that Christianity was to blame for the fall of Rome (which had occurred just three years earlier). Indeed, Augustine produced a wealth of evidence to prove that paganism bore within itself the seeds of its own destruction. However, over the next thirteen years that it took to complete the work, the brilliant ecclesiastic proceeded to his larger theme: a cosmic interpretation of history in terms of the struggle between good and evil. By means of his contrast of the earthly and heavenly cities--the one pagan, self-centered, and contemptuous of God and the other devout, God-centered, and in search of grace--Augustine explored and interpreted human history in relation to eternity.