Ambrose: De Officiis

Author: Davidson, Ivor J.
Title: Ambrose: De Officiis
Review/Collection: Oxford Scholarship Online Monographs
Year edition: 2002
Pages: i-982
Keywords: Héritage - Fortuna - Legacy
Description: [Abstract] De officiis, by Ambrose of Milan (c. 339-397), is one of the most important texts of Latin Patristic literature, and a major work of early Christian ethics. Modelled on the De officiis of Cicero, it synthesizes Stoic assumptions on virtue and expediency with biblical patterns of humility, charity, and self-denial to present Ambrose's vision of conduct appropriate for representatives of the church of Milan in the late 380s. Ambrose aspires to demonstrate that Christian values not only match but also exceed the moral standards advocated by Cicero. His purpose is not to build bridges between Cicero and Christ, but to replace Cicero's work with a new Christian account of duties, designed to show the social triumph of the gospel in the world of the Roman Empire. This edition consists of Ambrose's Latin text and a new English translation, the first since the nineteenth century. The Introduction considers in detail such matters as the composition of the work, its intended purpose, and its combination of biblical teaching and Ciceronian Stoicism. The Commentary (Volume 2 of the set) concentrates on the structure of the work, its copious citations of Scripture and Cicero, and its historical and social context.
Author initials: Davidson 2002