Christian Grace and Pagan Virtue: The Theological Foundation of Ambrose's Ethics by J. Warren SmithChristian Grace and Pagan Virtue: The Theological Foundation of Ambrose's Ethics by J. Warren Smith

Christian Grace and Pagan Virtue: The Theological Foundation of Ambrose's Ethics

byJ. Warren Smith

Hardcover | December 24, 2010

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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 thepatriarchs 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 Christianwriters 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, Ambroseemphasized 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.
J. Warren Smith is Assistant Professor of Historical Theology at Duke Divinity School, Duke University.
Title:Christian Grace and Pagan Virtue: The Theological Foundation of Ambrose's EthicsFormat:HardcoverDimensions:368 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:December 24, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195369939

ISBN - 13:9780195369939

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Table of Contents

PrefaceProlegomena: The Ritual Context for Ambrose's SoteriologyPart I - The Loss of Harmonic Unity: Ambrose's Account of the Fallen Human Condition1. The Soul: Ambrose's True Self2. Essential Unity of Soul and Body: Ambrose's Hylomorphic Theory3. The Body of Death: The Legacy of the FallPart II - Raised to New Life: Ambrose's Theology of Baptism4. Baptism: Sacrament of Justification5. Resurrection and Regeneration6. Baptismal Regeneration: Participation in the New Humanity7. The Inner Man's New DesireEpilogueBibliography