Enchantment and Creed in the Hymns of Ambrose of Milan

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Oxford University Press, Oct 20, 2016 - Religion - 312 pages
Enchantment and Creed in the Hymns of Ambrose of Milan offers the first critical overview of the hymns of Ambrose of Milan in the context of fourth-century doctrinal song and Ambrose's own catechetical preaching. Brian P. Dunkle, SJ, argues that these settings inform the interpretation of Ambrose's hymnodic project. The hymns employ sophisticated poetic techniques to foster a pro-Nicene sensitivity in the bishop's embattled congregation. After a summary presentation of early Christian hymnody, with special attention to Ambrose's Latin predecessors, Dunkle describes the mystagogical function of fourth-century songs. He examines Ambrose's sermons, especially his catechetical and mystagogical works, for preached parallels to this hymnodic effort. Close reading of Ambrose's hymnodic corpus constitutes the bulk of the study. Dunkle corroborates his findings through a treatment of early Ambrosian imitations, especially the poetry of Prudentius. These early readers amplify the hymnodic features that Dunkle identifies as "enchanting," that is, enlightening the "eyes of faith."

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List of Abbreviations
Hymnody Heresy and Doctrinal Identity
Ambroses Preaching Enchantment and Nature and Grace
Ambroses Daytime Hymns and the Mystagogy of Nature
Christ in Scripture and the Hymns for Dominical Feasts
Ecclesial Identity in the Hymns for Martyrs
The Features of Ambrosian Reception
Ambrosian Imitation in Sedulius and Prudentius
The Hymns
Select Bibliography
General Index

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About the author (2016)

Brian P. Dunkle, SJ, is Assistant Professor of Historical Theology at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.

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