The prevailing narrative of human history, given to us as children and reinforced constantly through our culture, is the plot of progress. As the narrative goes, we progressed from tyranny to freedom, from superstition to science, from poverty to wealth, from darkness to enlightenment. This is modernity’s origin myth. Out of it, a consensus has emerged: part of human progress is the overcoming of religion, in particular Christianity, and that the world itself is fundamentally secular.
In The Two Cities: A History of Christian Politics, Andrew Willard Jones rewrites the political history of the West with a new plot, a plot in which Christianity is true, in which human history is Church history.
The Two Cities moves through the rise and fall of empires; cycles of corruption and reform; the rise and fall of Christendom; the emergence of new political forms, such as the modern state, and new political ideologies, such as liberalism and socialism; through the horrible destruction of modern warfare; and on to the plight of contemporary Christians. These movements of history are all considered in light of their orientation toward or away from God.
The Two Cities advances a theory of Christian politics that is both an explanation of secular politics and a proposal for Christians seeking to navigate today’s most urgent political questions.
Andrew Willard Jones is the Director of Catholic Studies at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is the author of Before Church and State: A Study of Social Order in the Sacramental Kingdom of St. Louis IX and a founding editor of the journal New Polity.
Editor, First Things
D. C. Schindler
Professor of Metaphysics and Anthropology,
John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family
Associate Professor of Theology
Director of the Graduate Theology Online Program
Franciscan University of Steubenville