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Other titles in the Oxford Studies in Historical Theology series:

Christian Grace and Pagan Virtue: The Theological Foundation of Ambrose's Ethics (Oxford Studies in Historical Theology)


Christian Grace and Pagan Virtue: The Theological Foundation of Ambrose's Ethics (Oxford Studies in Historical Theology) Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Ambrose of Milan (340-397) was the first Christian bishop to write a systematic account of Christian ethics, in the treatise De Officiis, variously translated as "on duties" or "on responsibilities." But Ambrose also dealt with the moral life in other works, notably his sermons on the patriarchs and his addresses to catechumens and newly baptized. There is a vast modern literature on Ambrose, but only in recent decades has he begun to be taken seriously as a thinker, not just as a working bishop and ecclesiastical politician. Because Ambrose was one of the few Latin Christian writers in antiquity who knew Greek, another major area of Ambrose scholarship has been the study of his sources, notably the Jewish philosopher Philo, and Christian writers such as Origen of Alexandria.

In this book, Warren Smith examines the neglected biblical, liturgical and theological foundations of Ambrose's thought on ethics. Earlier studies have found little that was distinctively Christian in Ambrose's image of the virtuous person. Smith shows that though, like the pagans, Ambrose emphasized moderation, courage, justice, and prudence, for him these characteristics were shaped by the church's beliefs about God's salvific economy. The courage of a Christian facing persecution, for example, was an expression of faith in Christ's resurrection and the church's eschatological hope. Eschatology, for Ambrose, was not pagan wisdom clothed in pious language, but the very logic upon which virtue rests.

About the Author

Assistant Professor of Historical Theology, Duke Divinity School

Table of Contents


Prolegomena: The Ritual Context for Ambrose's Soteriology

Part I - The Loss of Harmonic Unity: Ambrose's Account of the Fallen Human Condition

Chapter 1: The Soul: Ambrose's True Self

Chapter 2: Essential Unity of Soul and Body: Ambrose's Hylomorphic Theory

Chapter 3: The Body of Death: The Legacy of the Fall

Part II - Raised to New Life: Ambrose's Theology of Baptism

Chapter 4: Baptism: Sacrament of Justification

Chapter 5: Resurrection and Regeneration

Chapter 6: Baptismal Regeneration: Participation in the New Humanity

Chapter 7: The Inner Man's New Desire



Product Details

Smith, J. Warren
Oxford University Press
null, J. Warren
Christianity - History - General
Church History
Theology Theology
Religion & Theology | Theology
Christianity-Church History General
Oxford Studies in Historical Theology
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
6.5 x 9.3 x 1.2 in 1.3 lb

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Linguistics » General
Religion » Christianity » Church History » General
Religion » Christianity » Pastoral Ministry and Church Leadership
Religion » Comparative Religion » General
Religion » Western Religions » Theology

Christian Grace and Pagan Virtue: The Theological Foundation of Ambrose's Ethics (Oxford Studies in Historical Theology) New Hardcover
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