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Augustinian Studies

Volume 47, Issue 2, 2016

James K. Lee
Pages 157-180

Babylon Becomes Jerusalem
The Transformation of the Two Cities in Augustine’s Enarrationes in Psalmos

This study draws attention to an overlooked dimension of Augustine’s doctrine of the two cities in Enarrationes in Psalmos, wherein the earthly city is transformed into the heavenly city during the present age. In contrast to scholarship that overemphasizes the eschatological aspect of the two cities at the expense of the church’s transformation, this study demonstrates how Augustine’s doctrine is not limited to an eschatological grammar of separation, but employs the figure of the two cities in order to develop an ecclesiology of transformation. For Augustine, the church is built up as the city of God on pilgrimage, precisely by the celebration of the sacraments. A one-sided analysis that focuses solely upon separation from an eschatological perspective neglects the richness of Augustine’s teaching on the transformation of the earthly city of Babylon into the heavenly city of Jerusalem.