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Document Type

Symposium

Abstract

(Excerpt)

Although there are many modern voices juxtaposing pagans and Christians, I want to focus on an ancient source, Augustine of Hippo’s City of God (against the Pagans), which is one of the inspirations for Smith’s title. While the bishop of Hippo shows up occasionally in Smith’s account—indeed, his conversion is central to Chapter Five, Looking beyond the World: The Christian Revolution—Augustine’s description of the “two cities,” Babylon and Jerusalem, makes only a brief appearance. So as a scholar of both historical theology and Augustine (and as someone innocent of constitutional legal theory), I suggest that the City of God sheds light on some of the tensions that I find in Pagans and Christians and, in particular, the limits of identifying paganism with “immanent” commitments and Christianity with “transcendent” commitments.

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