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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. X:
Prolegomena.: Section I. Literature.

Early Church Fathers  Index     


§1. Editions.

All the Editions of the works of St. Ambrose which preceded that of the Benedictines are very inadequate. Of these the chief are the following:

1. Venice, a.d. 1485.

2. Cribellius, a.d. 1490.

3. Auerbach, Basel, a.d. 1492, reprinted in 1506, with a full Index. These are very faulty Editions.

4. Erasmus, Basel, a.d. 1527, reprinted and re-edited by different persons, in various places [by Baronius amongst others, a.d. 1549].

5. Gillot Campanus, Paris, a.d. 1568.

6. Felix de Montalto [afterwards Pope Sixtus V.], Rome, a.d. 1580–1585, reprinted at Paris, a.d. 1603.

7. The Benedictines of St. Maur, Paris, a.d. 1686–1690, reprinted at Venice, a.d. 1748 and 1781, as well as with additions by Migne, Patres Latini, Vols. XIV.–XVII.

8. A new edition by Ballerini, Milan, a.d. 1875–1886, founded on that of the Benedictines, but by no means superior to it.

There is still room for a critical edition of the works of this great Father, which are unfortunately very corrupt, but in many points it is not likely that the work of the Benedictine editors can be improved upon.

9. There are separate editions of some of the treatises of St. Ambrose, as of the Hexaëmeron and De Officiis Clericorum, in the Bibliotheca Patrum Eccl. Latinæ Selecta, Leipzig, Tauchnitz. The De Officiis has also been edited, with considerable improvements in the text, by Krabinger, Tübingen, 1857, and the De Fide and De Pœnitentia, by Hurter in the Vienna selections from the Fathers.

§2. Translations.

There seems to have never been any attempt to translate the works of this great Christian Father and Doctor in full.

Some few treatises, De Officiis, De excessu fratris Satyri, De Virginitate, and several other short ones, appear in German, in the select writings of the Fathers, published by Kosel of Kempten. The Epistles have been translated into French by Bonrecueil, Paris, a.d. 1746; and the De Officiis and Epistles into English, the former by Humfrey, London, a.d. 1637; the latter in the Oxford “Library of the Fathers,” revised by E. Walford, London, 1881; whilst the De Mysteriis appears in a little volume of Sacramental Treatises, published by Messrs. J. Parker & Co., Oxford, under the supervision of the Editor of this volume. There is a very valuable little monograph entitled Studia Ambrosiana, chiefly critical, and unfortunately brief, by Maximilian Ihm. Leipzig, Teubner, 1889.

§3. Biographies and Authorities for the Life of St. Ambrose.

(a.) Ancient.

Many of his own writings.—Life of St. Ambrose by Paulinus, 1 a deacon of the Church of Milan.—St. Augustine, Confessions, V. 23, 24; VI. 1–6; IX. 13–16; and many other passages in his writings.—St. Jerome, De Scriptoribus Ecclesiasticis, c. 134.—Rufinus, p. xii Ecclesiastical History, XI, 11, 15, 16, 18.—Socrates, Eccl. History, IV. 30; V. 11.—Sozomen, Eccl. History, VI. 24; VII. 13, 25.

(b.) Modern.

Baronius, Annals, a.d. 397, n. 25–35; Life of St. Ambrose in the prolegomena to the Roman Edition of his works.—The Life of St. Ambrose gathered from his own writings, in the Benedictine Edition (excellent).—Hermant, Vie de St. Ambroise, Paris, 1678.—Tillemont, Mémoires, etc., Tome X. St. Ambroise [pp. 78–386], and notes, pp. 729–770.—Ceillier, Histoire générale des Auteurs sacrés, Tome V. pp. 328 ff. Ed. 2, Paris, 1860.—Dupin, Tome ii. pp. 438–515. [This writer says that the text of St. Ambrose is more corrupt than that of any other Father. See Alzog, Patrologie, p. 296. Ed. i.]—Cave, Hist. Lit. Vol. I. 262.—Schœneman, Biblíotheca historica PP. Lat. I. 388–419.—Silbert, Leben des heiligen Ambrosius, Vienna, 1841—Baunard, Histoire de St. Ambroise, Paris, 1872 [translated into German, Freiburg, 1873].—Life of St. Ambrose, by Archdeacon Thornton, London, and other shorter sketches.—Fessler [Jungmann], Institutiones Patrologiæ, I. 655 [also Patrologies of Mœhler, Alzog, etc.]. Articles in the Freiburg Kirchen-Lexikon, the Dictionary of Christian Biography, and other encyclopædias.



Paulinus, who had been in constant attendance on St. Ambrose, and was with him at his death, wrote this life a few years after that event, at the request of St. Augustine.

Next: Section II. Notes on Secular and Church History During the Latter Part of the Fourth Century.

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