Faculty Publication Highlights

Enchantment and Creed in the Hymns of Ambrose of Milan

by Brian P. Dunkle, SJ

This book offers the first critical overview of the hymns of Ambrose of Milan in the context of fourth-century Christian song and Ambrose’s own catechetical preaching. These settings must 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, the book describes the mystagogical function of the songs. It then examines Ambrose’s sermons, especially his catechetical works, for preached parallels to this hymnodic effort. Close reading of Ambrose’s hymnodic corpus constitutes the bulk of the study. The treatment of early Ambrosian imitations, especially the poetry of Prudentius, corroborates the thesis. These early emulators amplify the hymnodic features that are identified as “enchanting,” that is, enlightening the “eyes of faith.” Engaging the mass of literature on Ambrose, early Christian hymns and poetry, and doctrinal dispute in the fourth century, the volume makes several contributions to the scholarship. First, particular and original readings of words, phrases, and hymns aid the ongoing project of deciphering Ambrose’s meaning and establishing Ambrosian authorship. Second, the early reception of Ambrose’s hymns illuminates both Ambrose’s methods and the expansion of popular hymns and learned Christian poetry in the early Latin church. Third, the study engages the theology of the corpus of Ambrose’s hymns, a feature often ignored by scholars who adopt a philological approach; Ambrose’s distinctive Nicene Christology informs and motivates the careful poetics of the hymns.

View a guide of selected resources (PDF) on this topic available through the Libraries.

Book cover

Brian P. Dunkle, SJ
Assistant Professor of Historical Theology

View sample pages

Find this item

For further information about research in this area please visit the Subject Librarian portal.

Recent Highlights

the book cover

The Technology Fallacy: How People Are the Real Key to Digital Transformation
by Gerald C. Kane & Anh Nguyen Phillips, Jonathan R. Copulsky, & Garth R. Andrus

the book cover

Televising Restoration Spain
by Wan Sonya Tang

the book cover

Various Articles
by Joseph F. Quinn, Ph.D

A Lily Blooms in Winter

A Lily Blooms in Winter
by Alston Conley

the book cover

The History and Philosophy of Science: A Reader
by Daniel McKaughan & Holly VandeWall

the book cover

Holy Spirit: Setting the World on Fire
Co-Edited by Richard Lennan & Nancy Pineda-Madrid

the book cover

Technology and Engagement: Making Technology Work for First-Generation College Students
by Heather T. Rowan-Kenyon & Ana M. Martínez Alemán & Mandy Savitz-Romer, PhD

the book cover

Coercion: The Power to Hurt in International Politics
by Peter Krause & Timothy Crawford

the book cover

Why You Eat What You Eat
by Rachel Herz

the book cover

Listening to Early Modern Catholicism: Perspectives from Musicology
Edited by Michael Noone & Daniele V. Filippi

the book cover

Nazi Law: From Nuremberg to Nuremberg
Edited by John J. Michalczyk

A colorful detail of one of Chong's paintings

From Neither Here Not There
by Sammy Chong, S.J.