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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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Essential Unity of Soul and Body

Essential Unity of Soul and Body

Ambrose’s Hylomorphic Theory

(p.29) 2 Essential Unity of Soul and Body
Christian Grace and Pagan Virtue

J. Warren Smith (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Having argued in Chapter 1 that for Ambrose the divisive tension between the soul and the body is not the proper relationship as God intended it in creation, but is the result of the fall, this chapter examines Ambrose’s understanding of the proper relationship between soul and body. It is argued that Ambrose subscribes to a hylomorphic anthropology akin to that of both Aristotle and Plotinus. Yet given his commitment to the immortality of the soul, Ambrose’s view is closer to Plotinus than Aristotle. This hylomorphic anthropology provides a model for understanding Ambrose’s view of human emotions or passions.

Keywords:   affectiones, apatheia, Aristotle, body, compassio devotio, domitrix, emotions, epithymetikon, hylomorphism, logikon, nous, passions, Plato, Plotinus, Phaedrus, psyche, Republic, soul, thymikon, tranquillitas

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