De Officiis - Vol. 1

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

II Date

Ambrose's writings are notoriously difficult to date. 7 This is partly because they often amount to or incorporate revised versions of sermons: do identifiable historical references tell us when the texts were edited into their final form, or do they hint merely at the provenance of individual oral sections? Even where the works do not derive from a homiletic base, their chronological context can be equally elusive. In the case of De officiis, there is insufficient evidence to support the widely held theory that the text was pieced together out of earlier addresses [Introduction V], but here too it is impossible to pin down a precise date of writing; we can only establish a broad period within which the work is likely to have originated.

Even at that, the reliable markers are few. We have no information as to when the treatise was first in circulation. Judging by the thematic parallels between De officiis and Jerome's Epistle 52 to Nepotian, 8 it is possible that Jerome had read Ambrose's work when he composed his libellus on the clerical life in 393, but there is no way of proving this conclusively [Introduction VIII]. Within the text itself, some supposed clues to chronology are simply irrelevant. 1.245 has sometimes been thought to allude to the overthrow of statues of Maximus in the late summer of 388, but the language is much too general to bear such a specific construction. 9 Linguistic

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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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