Analysis of Ambrose





Analysis of Ambrose

1. What are Ambrose’s communities of accountability?

Ambrose advocated values such as chastity for the benefit of the community. He practiced charitable works. The people regarded him highly because of his generosity (Wills 22). He supported the community against the emperor and the court in terms of unjust laws. He participated in interstate political affairs of his country. Ambrose was known to treat all the people fairly regardless of their status. People did not need to make an appointment to see him as he welcomed everybody.

2. What is the work Ambrose tried to accomplish as a life goal?

Ambrose’s main goal was to save people’s souls. This often landed him in trouble with different people because of the methods he chose to do so. He once ransomed people’s lives by melting the gold vessels in the church. He believed that people should live a virtuous life by living simply. Although he respected church traditions, he preached the gospel based on what he thought the Bible taught. He urged those mandated to preach God’s word to do so in a way that people could understand.

3. In Ambrose’s opinion, what is the principle duty of a Christian?

Ambrose believed that the principle duty of a Christian is to live a virtuous and honorable life. He believed that this could only come from the fear of God, which meant seeing God as a witness to everything one did and as a redeemer and judge. He showed how to live a virtuous life by focusing on the plight of the poor and those who were afflicted. He encouraged people to do good deeds and charitable works. He urged those who had more than they needed to share with the poor.

4. What is his principle audience?

Ambrose spoke to the people in Milan. He spoke to different hearers including athletes, soldiers, physicians and musicians when he focused on social change (Satterlee 103). He spoke to the emperor and the government when addressing political change. He spoke to the other preachers in the city informing them of the need to have theological change. He advised them to use simple language when preaching so that the people could understand.

5. What is his conception of power? How does he think such power operates?

Ambrose sees God as the source of all power. God power operates through his deeds. The power of the Trinity work together to accomplish God’s will on earth. Ambrose mentions God’s creation as an example of His unending power. Jesus was born of a virgin through the power of God. God’s power illuminates and sanctifies through the Holy Spirit. It also functions in this manner when a person receives baptism, where it flows from God to human beings (Smith 187).

6. What are Ambrose’s four principle truth claims? (truth claims=where does truth come from? What is that truth? What truth cannot be debated?)

Ambrose believed that truth comes from God. He believed that only God held the mysteries of nature since He was the creator. He also believed that the Holy Spirit revealed the truth of Christ. He posits that there is truth in the trinity, and this cannot be debated. God the father, the son and the Holy Spirit are three persons in one. Ambrose acquired knowledge from diverse sources, but he asserted that the truth only came from the biblical texts and Christian teaching (Smith 13).

7. What are the principle sources that he uses to justify his claims?

Ambrose used both the spiritual and dogmatic sources. He used a variety of sources ranging from Greek and eastern teachings and traditions. However, his main source was the Christian teachings presented in biblical texts, which he used to defend his claims and his teachings. He examined the Old Testament as he sought its relevance in the new Christian doctrines. He was able to relate certain events in the old testaments with the life of Jesus. He used the teachings of Jesus presented in the new testament in order to teach and admonish the people. He preached on subjects that were relevant to the people of his day (Badcock 64).

8. What is his attitude toward institutions, particularly the church?

Ambrose defended the church against the state and the pagans. He refused to heed to Valentinian orders to have the Arians use the basilica. He disregarded any laws and declarations that limited the church from performing its duties. His efforts often led him to trouble, but he was adamant in defending the church. He eventually won since he had the support of the people and the soldiers. However, he did not express the same sentiments for the Jewish synagogues, which he believed were used for false worship.  

9. What is Ambrose’s view of Jesus?

Ambrose believed that Jesus was the hope for all sinners since he offered them forgiveness. He perceived Jesus to be full of grace and the source of salvation. He believed that Jesus blood was the only thing that could abolish all sins. He sees Jesus as the focus of the Bible, beginning in the Old Testament. He believed that Jesus was prefigured in different biblical accounts including the Song of Songs, where is presented as the bridegroom (Satterlee 83)

10. How does he define justice in the context of the time and circumstances of his life?

Ambrose’s concept of justice was a society in which both the rich and the poor had equal representation in different aspects of life. He marveled at the excesses of the rich who took every chance they had to display their wealth. They often dressed in silk and gold, and the women took every opportunity they had to display their jewels. He believed in helping the poor, and he did not distinguish between members of the different social classes who wanted to see him. He demonstrated his beliefs by selling his property and sharing it with the poor.

11. What are some of the other loyalties stated or implied?

Ambrose appealed to many people because of his different way of teaching and preaching. He talked about the social issues that affected people and this made him relevant in their day. He was willing to stand before the court and the emperor on behalf of the people. He was not afraid of correcting and reprimanding those in authority for the wrongs they had committed. This endeared him to many people. He spoke on issues of justice, which led to some reforms in the way the courts handled matters.

12. What attitude towards social change is being exemplified in Ambrose?

Ambrose was willing to embrace social change and he was positive about it. When he became the bishop, he sold all he had so that he could help the poor. He wrote a letter to the emperor admonishing the conduct of some of the ministers. He sacrificed temple vessels so that he could redeem the people in a time of war. He encouraged chastity by encouraging young women and girls to remain virgins. He encouraged the emperor to repent before making his sacrifice at the temple, because of the grave sins he had committed.

13. Does Ambrose leave room for his claims to be contested?

Ambrose leaves enough room for his claims to be contested. He offers proof from the old and new testaments concerning his Christian beliefs. However, he also uses other varied sources of literature, ranging from Greek texts to roman literature. People interested in trying to prove his claims would use such knowledge. Christians who believe in the divine authority of the Bible would contest the claims that Ambrose makes especially if he uses the eastern doctrines. They would find questionable elements that are contrary to the Christian faith.

14. What does he hold to be the moral norms operating in the social context?

Ambrose believed in the avoidance of what was evil and in embracing the good. He considered the principles of natural law similar to the commands of God. However, he justified cases of just war based on his readings of the Old Testament. He believed that it was sometimes necessary for countries to go to war. He believed that God had supported the Israelites when they had to fight against their enemies.

15. What type of relationship is Ambrose primarily interested in?

Ambrose was interested in different types of relationships. He was concerned with the political affairs of his country. He tried to negotiate and stop the war between his state and Maximus. He was interested in interpersonal relationships as evidenced by the form of relationship he had with Augustine. He was interested in intercommunity relationships. Because of the interest that he showed for people, they were willing to embrace religion and follow the moral paths.  

16. Where does Ambrose claim knowledge comes from?  

Ambrose claims that knowledge comes from the Spirit. The Spirit gave Paul the knowledge he needed once he was converted. He taught Paul all the things he needed to know to fulfill his ministry. The spirit reveals the things of God. Knowledge enabled David to realize that all the worldly things were vanity. This enabled him to live a righteous life free from earthly cares (Smith 202). Ambrose claims that the knowledge that comes from God is different from that of the law.

17. What is the theological anthropology being claimed by Ambrose?

Ambrose posited that the son of God could not have been conceived by any other means other than of the virgin. He was pure and immaculate in origin and could not have been conceived naturally. Although Jesus was a man, He maintained his Godly divine nature. Mary was not divine in any way. She was God’s instrument to deliver Jesus to the world. Therefore, although Jesus maintained his Godly nature even after his birth, Mary was not transformed in any way.  

Works Cited

Badcock, D. Gary. Light of Truth and Fire of Love: A Theology of the Holy Spirit. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1997. Print

Satterlee, A. Craig. Ambrose of Milan’s Method of Mystagogical Preaching. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2002. Print

Smith, J. Warren. Christian Grace and Pagan Virtue: The Theological Foundation of Ambrose’s Ethics. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. Print

Wills, Garry. Font of Life: Ambrose, Augustine, and the Mystery of Baptism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. Print

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