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Augustine: De Civitate Dei The City of God Books I and XII$

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780856687525

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9780856687525.001.0001

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(p.vi) Preface

(p.vi) Preface

Augustine: De Civitate Dei The City of God Books I and XII
P. G. Walsh
Liverpool University Press

The City of God has been one of the most widely-read and influential documents in the history of western Christianity, a quarry for students of many disciplines. For those whose needs are met by an English translation, there are two single-volume versions in print by Henry Bettenson (Penguin) and by R. W. Dyson (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought). Both are admirable renderings, but the enormous size of the treatise affords them little space for explanatory notes. For those seeking combined text and translation, the Loeb edition undertaken by various hands is serviceable, but the philosophy of the series precludes extensive annotation. Welldon's older edition (1924) presents text and commentary in two volumes; the absence of a translation is a more serious handicap now than it was for readers in his day, and his commentary, useful but brief, inevitably requires updating as well as expansion.

The only feasible solution for an editor seeking to offer text, translation and fuller commentary is to break up the work into more manageable sections. Hence this pioneering edition of Books I-II, with the possibility of other volumes to follow. I declare my heavy debt at the outset to Gerard O'Daly's admirable Augustine's City of God, A Reader's Guide (Oxford 1999), and to the annotations of G. Bardy in volume I of La Cite de Dieu in the series Oeuvres de saint Augustin (Paris 1959).

I am most grateful to Professor Malcolm Willcock for casting his vigilant and expert eye over the proofs of this volume. He has saved me from many errors, and has improved the edition immeasurably.