De Officiis - Vol. 1

By Ambrose; Ivor J. Davidson | Go to book overview

episcopal auctoritas and a rich pastoral immediacy are not at odds.

The Introduction and Commentary seek to explain the social, cultural, and theological factors which give the work its particular flavour. While they uncover an even greater density of Ciceronian evocation than has hitherto been noticed in Ambrose's Latin, they also endeavour to assess his text not just as a literary puzzle but also as an expression of its author's larger ecclesiastical strategy in the Milan of the 380s. I seek to describe and analyse Ambrose's moral message within the specific circumstances of his effort to placard the superiority of his Nicene faith over all its competitors, pagan and Christian. On the assumption that the intellectual stratigraphy of Ambrose's language can only be appreciated by quoting directly from his chief sources, Cicero and Scripture, the Commentary is based upon the Latin text and contains a fair degree of Latin citation, but I hope its more general analysis renders it still useful for readers without the language. To facilitate the latter's access, I have for the most part ignored matters philological and syntactical, though I offer a brief overview of the work's Latinity in the Introduction, which refers interested readers to further specialized tools.

The work has had a lengthy gestation, and I have accumulated many debts. Ambrose has occupied my attention in a lot of places: Glasgow, Edinburgh, St Andrews, Oxford, Mainz, Heidelberg, Melbourne, and Dunedin, and I have cause to be grateful to scholars and librarians in all of them. I should like to thank the editors of the Oxford Early Christian Studies series, Andrew Louth and Gillian Clark, for their willingness to accommodate an unusually large study within the series, and for the generosity with which they reviewed this one. I am also much indebted to Roger Green for his appreciative comments and valuable suggestions. David Wright and George Newlands appraised an earlier version of the work, and both have extended much valuable encouragement and friendship over the years. I am grateful to my father for his interest in the project over even longer, and thankful, too, to the colleagues, students, and friends with whom I have been able to discuss aspects of the work in detail. I am also glad to acknowledge the

-viii-

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De Officiis - Vol. 1
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Ambrose iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • Abbreviations xii
  • Note on Cicero Citations xxiii
  • Abbreviations and Editions of Other Works by Ambrose xxiv
  • Introduction 1
  • II- Date 3
  • III- Model 6
  • IV- Themes and Perspectives 19
  • V- Composition 33
  • VI- Purpose of the Work 45
  • VII- Constructing an Ecclesial Community- Ambrose''s Ethical Vision 64
  • VIII- The Influence of de Officiis 96
  • IX- Latinity 105
  • Text and Translation 113
  • Book 1 439
  • Book 2 692
  • Book 3 802
  • Select Bibliography 909
  • Indexes 953
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