De Officiis - Vol. 1

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

had so often claimed, Noah's ark was a type of the church (1.78).

In the end, Ambrose's policy of assembling vast catenae of citations is calculated to invest his language with the texture of the Bible itself, and to lend pastoral immediacy to his work: it is by immersion in the sheer breadth of sacred Scripture, and in the glories of its rhythms, that his addressees, like their teacher, will become what God intends them to be. The quotations, the allusions, and the narrative exempla are all about sounding biblical, and about being formed after a biblical pattern. 66


V Composition

Superficially, Ambrose maintains the basic anatomy of Cicero's text. The classical order of the three books is preserved, and material is generally maintained in the 'right' places: Ambrose avoids transferring major subject-matter from book 1 of Cicero, say, to book 2 in his own text. 67 On closer examination, however, it is quickly apparent that Ambrose takes considerable liberties with Cicero, and that he shows more enthusiasm for extolling scriptural examples than he does for constructing a careful philosophical argument. There are virtually no exact quotations; only (at best) very close reminiscences and endless verbal echoes, many of them doubtless subconscious 68 and in no specific logical sequence. There is also a decreasing amount

-33-

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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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