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Christian Grace and Pagan VirtueThe Theological Foundation of Ambrose’s Ethics$
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J. Warren Smith

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195369939

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195369939.001.0001

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The Soul

The Soul

Ambrose’s True Self

Chapter:
(p.11) 1 The Soul
Source:
Christian Grace and Pagan Virtue
Author(s):

J. Warren Smith (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195369939.003.0002

This chapter examines the disputed relationship between Ambrose’s theology and Neoplatonic philosophy, with specific reference to his account of the identity of the person. One controversial passage is from On the Good of Death, where Ambrose, paraphrasing Ennead IV.7, appears to claim that an individual’s identity lies in the soul and that the body is not a constitutive element of the self. It will be argued that Ambrose’s dichotomization of soul and body in On the Good of Death and his appropriation of Plotinus reflect his understanding of the human condition after its corruption by sin, described based on his interpretation of Romans 7.

Keywords:   body, body of death, caro, concupiscentia, corpus, image of God, immortality of the soul, inner man, Neoplatonism, outer man, Phaedo, Plotinus, soul

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