How Dawson Read The City of God

How Dawson Read The City of God Jacob D. Rhein To examine how the twentieth-century English historian Christopher Dawson read St. Augustine's City of God brings to the foreground the problem of method, since one must ask whether any apparent influences came directly from The City of God or were derived from other sources. Augustine and Dawson had several texts in common--the letters of St. Paul, for instance--and it is likely that Dawson took ideas from many scholars who were influenced by Augustine. Nevertheless, what I intend to do in this article is to consider the ways in which Dawson developed the themes treated in City of God to illuminate modern issues while trying to indicate evidence of direct influence where possible. As Dawson's biographer Bradley Birzer writes, "Dawson admitted that nearly all of his ideas were `an attempt to reinterpret and reapply the Augustinian theory of history.'"1 And in his private notes Dawson calls The City of God "the urgent work of the greatest father on the most important subject."2 Knowing how Dawson read that work is therefore central to grasping the significance of his own writings. The basis for this article will be two of Dawson's essays, "The Dying World" and "The City http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture Logos: Journal of Catholic Thought & Culture

How Dawson Read The City of God

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Publisher
Logos: Journal of Catholic Thought & Culture
Copyright
Copyright © The University of St. Thomas
ISSN
1533-791X
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Abstract

Jacob D. Rhein To examine how the twentieth-century English historian Christopher Dawson read St. Augustine's City of God brings to the foreground the problem of method, since one must ask whether any apparent influences came directly from The City of God or were derived from other sources. Augustine and Dawson had several texts in common--the letters of St. Paul, for instance--and it is likely that Dawson took ideas from many scholars who were influenced by Augustine. Nevertheless, what I intend to do in this article is to consider the ways in which Dawson developed the themes treated in City of God to illuminate modern issues while trying to indicate evidence of direct influence where possible. As Dawson's biographer Bradley Birzer writes, "Dawson admitted that nearly all of his ideas were `an attempt to reinterpret and reapply the Augustinian theory of history.'"1 And in his private notes Dawson calls The City of God "the urgent work of the greatest father on the most important subject."2 Knowing how Dawson read that work is therefore central to grasping the significance of his own writings. The basis for this article will be two of Dawson's essays, "The Dying World" and "The City

Journal

Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and CultureLogos: Journal of Catholic Thought & Culture

Published: Jan 6, 2014

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