Friday, 17 May 2019

Metha Hokke: Ambrose on misericordia in his virginity treatises

In his virginity treatises, Ambrose emphasizes human effort and individual spiritual growth in the choice for and perseverance of a virginal way of life. How does this relate to the virtue of misericordia? What is the connection between divine and human misericordia? Does man’s reaction to God’s misericordia(fides, pietas, chastity, virginity, charity) in the virginity treatises proper (De Virginibus, De Virginitate, De Institutione Virginis, Exhortatio Virginitatis) differ from that in De Viduis? Finally, what can be said about misericordia’s opposite, the vice invidia? While envy is associated with equality and one’s nearest and dearest, misericordia is based on inequality and its recipients need clarification. The continuous passage De Virginitate1.1-3.13; 5.24b-26 provides a good starting point for a discussion of these questions in Ambrose’s virginity treatises, De Viduis included.

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