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Augustine's City of God - Continuing Metaphoric Theme of Self Justification by Doni Almio

Augustine's City of God - Continuing Metaphoric Theme of Self Justification by Doni Almio

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Published by Doni June Almio

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Doni June Almio on May 06, 2011
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Augustine’s City of God: The Continuing Autobiographic and Metaphoric Theme of Self 
Doni June V. AlmioIntroduction
It is necessary for us to explore first the meaning of autobiography. The dictionarydefinition of autobiography is an
account of a person’s life written by him or her. However, I
have some modifications on this definition. An autobiography is not necessarily written based onthe actual happenings of the life of its author. An autobiography can be written in a metaphoricalform or symbolic way if the author is trying to persuade or tell other persons to join his or hercause. An example of this is the book that will be discussed in this paper which is the City of God.St. Augustine was one of the important personages in the Catholic Church. St. Augustineis important up to the point that he is one of the fortunate saints to be named a Doctor of theChurch in the year 1295 by Pope Boniface XIII. Being a doctor of the church means that a
saint’s writings and teachings are considered to be as useful or helpful to “in any age of theChurch“
(Catholic Online n.d.). Technically, St. Augustine became a doctor of the churchbecause of his writings: Confessions, which is an autobiography anchored on
conversion to Christianity, and City of God, a book about defending Christianity againstpaganism. However, among the books St. Augustine wrote, this paper is more concerned on theCity of God.
As mentioned above, Confessions is an autobiography of St. Augustine. It tells about thelife story of St. Augustine starting from his years as a non-Christian up to his views about theHoly Trinity.
The contention of this paper is that St. Augustine’
s City of God continues thetheme of Confessions which is about self-justification. However, this paper also contends that St.
Augustine’s other book, the City of God, is a figurative or metaphorical autobiography of St.
Augustine. Basically, this paper will be all about establishing the book City of God as St.
Augustine’s biography.
This paper will be answering the question
“what are the specific parts in
the City of God that reflects that Augusti
ne’s conversion was a good decision?”
The Audience of the Metaphorical Autobiography and the Symbols
Before we proceed to the discussion of the topic itself, there are things that are needed tobe identified and settled. First would be the reason on what is
Augustine’s intention on why did
he write a book that contains a part of his life but in a metaphoric way? My answer to this is thatby Augustine wrote a book that justifies his conversion to show to the other persons on why didhe convert and of course to market Christianity. Also, why did Augustine wrote City of God in ametaphoric way and why did he use city as metaphors for the different religions? The answer tothis is also found in the question. I say that Augustine wrote City of God in a metaphoric waybecause it will somehow
catch the reader’
s attention through the use of cities as metaphoricobjects.
Cities have been used since Plato’s the Republic. The idea behind cities is that people
think that in cities, people are self-sufficient, complementary with each other and people withinthe city are considered as civilized. Anything about cities
knowledge about the cities, way of life, ideals
would interest the people during Augustine’s time.
Since it was mentioned above that Augustine was trying to market Christianity to otherpersons, next consideration would be the consideration of the audience of the City of God. Towhere is this metaphorical autobiography subjected to? There would be three things to considerwhen we answer this question. First would be those non-Christians or members of other sects.Second are those persons who were already Christians since birth and the last are those personswho are new to Christianity or those newly-baptized Christians. If we use the first considerationwhich is the non-Christians, it would be hard to make them audience of this metaphoricalautobiography since Augustine used the bible in justifying his conversion. Why would the non-Christians even bother to read
this book if they don’t believe the proofs that was
used to
substantiate Augustine’s argument on his
conversion? Basically, that leaves us the Christianssince birth and the newly baptized Christians. I say that these two are considered to be theaudience of Augustine in the City of God but my contention is that Augustine is more focused onthe newly baptized Christians. What is meant by focused here is that Augustine gives moreemphasis on the faith of the newly baptized Christians because of the fact that if a person isnewly baptized, there is a great possibility that they will leave Christianity immediately becauseof the lack of faith. Augustine is metaphorically justifying his conversion to Christianity tostrengthen the faith of these newly-baptized Christians so that there will be no danger of adecrease in number among the Christians. It is because during this time, Christians were notlarge when it comes to number as compared to those who are in other sects or religions.Furthermore, great violence happens to these Christians such as persecution so basically to stopthis violence towards them, there is a need of increasing their number and Augustine is doingthat.

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