This seminar is an intensive five-day course in how to read, analyze, and discern the many themes in Augustine’s most ambitious and sprawling work. The City of God tells the history of two societies, and their respective origins, progress, and appointed ends. The story is engaged first from the evidence of profane history (I-XI) and then from the evidence of revelation (XII-XXII). In this seminar, participants will discuss how Augustine reckons with the crisis of the ancient and the human city, and whether it is possible to reconcile truth and authority across the competing domains of polity, religion, and philosophical wisdom. These themes will be approached from an interdisciplinary perspective, addressing questions pertinent to students in political science, philosophy, law, theology, religious studies, and history.

Format: There will be two 2 ½ hour sessions each day.  Professor Hittinger will open each session with a lecture, and then we will turn to general, seminar-style discussion of the text and the issues at hand. Students will be expected to make seminar presentations of the material under discussion.

 The seminar will take place at the University of California Berkeley. Students will be provided with a travel stipend, accommodations, and meals. 

Application Information: 
 This seminar will be open to Ph.D. students in the humanities and social sciences (such as Philosophy, Theology, Political Science, History, and Medieval Studies).

Applicants will be required to submit:

  • A completed online application form.
  • An updated CV.
  • At least one and as many as two letter(s) of recommendation from a member of the program in which the student is currently enrolled.
  • A statement of research interest no longer than 750 words, which includes an explanation of how this seminar might bear on the student’s current or future research plans.
  • One example of written, academic work (25-30 pages maximum). Incomplete applications will not be considered.

All application materials can be submitted via the online application except for letters of recommendation, which can be emailed to or mailed to: Lumen Christi Institute, Graduate Seminars, 1220 East 58th Streeet, Chicago, IL 60637. Incomplete applications will not be considered. 15 students will be admitted to this seminar.

The Lumen Christi is an institute for the promotion of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition and is committed to the integration of the intellectual and spiritual life.  The Institute welcomes seminar participants of all or no religious affiliation, and wants to assure all applicants that the opportunities to participate in devotional activities are optional.

Any further questions can be directed to Mark Franzen at