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Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 65-05, Section: A, page: 1773.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Toronto, 2004.
Advisers: John Magee; Robert Sinkewicz.
This thesis investigates Ambrose's strategies for moral teaching in his Expositio Psalmi CXVIII. The traditional approach to Ambrose's moral instruction has been to view De officiis ministrorum as his definitive moral treatise and to compare other writings to this benchmark. Many of his other writings have been of interest primarily for their use of Greek sources rather than for Ambrose's teaching. This thesis uses Pierre Hadot's strategy for interpreting ancient texts as moral and spiritual exercise in order to test the longstanding assumptions about the place of this commentary in Ambrose's moral teaching. The thesis examines Ambrose's interpretive strategies, his moral and mystical framework in this commentary, and his exegetical method. It then considers the assumptions about the human condition that play a prominent role in this commentary, including the simplicity and purity of the human condition, the privilege of being created in the image and likeness of God, and the position of the human condition in the created world. The thesis then examines the notion of justice as a key element in Ambrose's moral teaching in the commentary and compares Ambrose's approach in this text with that in De officiis ministrorum. The final two chapters examine the place of Scripture, reading and meditation in moral and spiritual exercise and the role of the conscience as a gymnasium for this exercise. This study concludes that commentaries such as Expositio Psalmi CXVIII deserve further consideration and attention if we are going to understand Ambrose's approach to moral instruction and spiritual development.