Students and faculty at Ave Maria Univeristy’s Graduate Theology Programs are excited to join Dr. Chad Pecknold from The Catholic University of America in two seminars on Augustine’s City of God as part of the Master Seminar Series. Dr. Chad Pecknold is an associate professor of theology and the author of “Christianity and Politics: A Brief Guide to the History,” and “The Bloomsbury Companion to Augustine and Modern Theology.” Further, he is writing a book on Augustine’s City of God and Western Political order, a theme that he will go into during the weekend seminars.
[Augustine contemplates the City of God in an illumination by Girolamo da Cremona, 1475 form The City of God.]
There will be two seminars this coming weekend on two different themes from Augustine’s City of God. The first seminar is “Augustine’s City: The Catholic Church and the Political Order.” Focusing on Book 19 of Augustine’s City of God, Dr. Pecknold plans on leading students and faculty through a pre-reformation reading of this text; a reading that he contends is rarely made nowadays. Dr. Pecknold explains that this seminar
will examine the plausibility of understanding Augustine to teach that the Catholic Church is itself the ’societas perfecta,’ the Just society, which functions as an umbrella under which many different kinds of regimes can be formed, to better or worse effects.
He claims that this reading will be less pessimistic than common post-Reformation readings.
During the seminar on the following day, Dr. Pecknold will take up the theme of martyrdom as it appears in the The City of God, and how it connects Christian virtue with good works, saints, miracles, relics, shrines, Christ’s sacrifice, and the Eucharist. The theme of this seminar, he says, will highlight
the importance of the Christian saints and martyrs as heavenly guideposts for a just society, pointing out both the possibility of a just society, and a noble politics, as well as setting limits to politics and providing a basis for judging its disorders.
This seminar will take students and faculty through several books of The City of God.
St. Augustine and his works stand as a formidable pillar in Catholic Theology, and of his works, The City of God is one of the most important. This will be an exciting opportunity for AMU graduate students to take a brief tour of Augustine’s City with a great figure in contemporary Catholic Theology, Dr. Chad Pecknold.