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manuscript of the De Civitate Dei
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Week 6. Augustinus: De civitate dei
Augustine's monumental De civitate dei is a compendium of knowledge assembled at the close of the Roman Empire, and it can be said to mark the very beginnings of what would become the learned tradition of the European Middle Ages.
Augustine's intellectual interests were wide-ranging and - in many cases - quite bizarre, at least to our modern ways of thinking. The readings here present Augustine's view of pagan religion and magic; his speculations on popular legends of monstrous peoples; and his belief about the resurrection of the body, in particular, the resurrection of the female body.
In addition, our readings this week will give you a first introduction to what will become one of the dominant modes of thought in the Middle Ages: allegory. Allegory is a symbolic way of thinking, very alien to the modern world, but central to the Middle Ages.