An analytic radiative-equilibrium model is formulated where both short- and longwave radiation are treated as two-stream (down- and upward) fluxes. An equilibrium state is defined in the model by the vertical temperature profile. The sensitivity of any such state to the model atmosphere's optical properties is formulated analytically. As an example, this general formulation is applied to a single-column 11-layer model, and the model's optical parameters are obtained from a detailed radiative parametrization of a general circulation model. The resulting simple column model is then used to study changes in the Earth-atmosphere system's radiative equilibrium and, in particular, to infer the role of greenhouse trace gases, water vapor and aerosols in modifying the vertical temperature profile. Multiple equilibria appear when a positive surface-albedo feedback is introduced, and their stability is studied. The vertical structure of the radiative fluxes (both short- and longwave) is substantially modified as the temperature profile changes from one equilibrium to another. These equilibria and their stability are compared to those that appear in energy-balance models, which heretofore have ignored the details of the vertical temperature and radiation profiles.