AMBROSIASTER

AMBROSIASTER d. after 384. Author of the Commentaries on the thirteen Pauline letters that were attributed to Ambrose throughout the Middle Ages. The discovery of the nonauthenticity of that attribution during the Renaissance resulted in the name Ambrosiaster being given to the work’s anonymous author. Erasmus of Rotterdam was responsible for correcting the communis opinio, recognizing the nonauthenticity of the entire work see R. Hoven, Notes sur ‰rasme et les auteurs anciens: L’Antiquit Classique 38 1969 169-174; until recently the term Ambrosiaster has been thought to derive from Erasmus as well, but Lunn-Rockliffe has argued that the term was coined by the Benedictines of St Maur in their 1686-1690 edition of Ambrose’s works. Besides the MSS that contain the Commentaries under Ambrose’s name, some codices ascribe them to a certain Hilarius; most MSS including the oldest, the mid-6th-c. Casinensis CL present the work as anonymous. The problem of authorship is still unresolved: many hypotheses attempt to ascribe the work to an author known to us, but none have gained the consensus of scholars. Among proposed authors are the Luciferian deacon Hilarius, the Donatist Tyconius, the Roman priest Faustinus, the converted Jew Isaac adversary of Pope Damasus, the Roman prefect Hilarianus Hilarius, Hilarius of Pavia, Evagrius of Antioch, the imperial official Claudius Callistus Hilarius, the Roman prefect Emilianus Dexter son of Pacian of Barcelona and a friend of Jerome, Niceta of Remesiana and Maximus of Turin. Clues in his writings indicate that Ambrosiaster worked at Rome during the pontificate of Pope Damasus 366 384, though he probably had links with N Italy and Spain. The author may have been a convert from paganism or Judaism. The Commentaries, for the first time in the West, offer a systematic explanation of the Pauline letters, which they include in their entirety according to a Latin text common in Italy before the Vulgate revision. Their historical-literal exegesis, averse to allegory but not ignoring typology, uses biblical citations and rational argumentation to demonstrate theological themes. They include practical applications to the moral life of believers. A not-insignificant problem underlying the exact reconstruction of Ambrosiaster’s thought is the existence of more than one recension of the Commentaries three for Romans, two for the other letters, at times partially different in doctrinal content: Vogels, who edited the critical edition of the work with reference to the research of Brewer and Souter, considers them successive reworkings by the author himself, naming them a, b and g, with g being the last and definitive version. A problem of different recensions exists with the Quaestiones Veteris et Novi Testamenti, passed down among Augustine’s works but now, following Souter’s studies, unanimously attributed to Ambrosiaster. We have three collections which contain, respectively, 127, 150 and 115 treatises. Most of these explain difficult passages of Scripture; others expound the faith in polemic with heretics, pagans or Jews; and still others refer to precise historical conditions, such as the quaestio CI which rebukes the pride of the Roman deacons. Some exegetical fragments in the codex Ambrosianus I 101 sup. 8th c. are also attributed to Ambrosiaster: three fragments on Matthew 24, the Incipit de tribus mensuris on Mt 13:33  Lk 13:21 and De Petro apostolo on Mt 26:52 and Peter’s denial see A. Souter, Reasons for Regarding Hilarius Ambrosiaster as the Author of the Mercati-Turner Anecdoton: JTS 5 1903-1904 608-621. The themes present in Ambrosiaster’s work, though mainly related to the biblical texts he comments on, show some of his particular interests: the problem of the unbelief of the Jews of whose institutions the author has a profound knowledge and whose adherence to Christ he awaits; the relationship between the Mosiac law and faith in Christ and the question of the Judaizers; the position of the pagans with respect to the Christian message; the presentation of trinitarian and christological faith; and the situation of the human creature, sinner and redeemed. Ambrosiaster’s treatment of this last theme has often led scholars to comparisons with Augustine and Pelagius, with differing conclusions. The earliest explicit citation of a text of Ambrosiaster is by Augustine in 420, who introduces a passage of Ambrosiaster’s commentary on Rom 5:12 as a work of sanctus Hilarius, clearly thinking of Hilary of Poitiers c. Pelag. IV,4,7. CPL 184-188; CPPM IIA 1745-1767; Repertorium biblicum medii aevi F. Stegm¼ller Supplementum VIII A-E 1976 1248-1262 for the 5 exegetical fragments n. 1261. Commentaries: PL 17, 47-536; CSEL 81,1.2.3. Quaestiones: PL 36, 2215-2422; CSEL 50. Frammenti su Matteo: G. Mercati, Il commentario latino di un ignoto chiliasta su s. Matteo: ST 11 1903 23-49; C.H. Turner, An Exegetical Fragment of the Third Century: JTS 5 1903-1904 227-241; PLS 1, 665-670; Eng. tr., Ambrosiaster ed. G. L. Bray, Commentaries on Romans and 1-2 Corinthians, Downers Grove 2009; Id., Commentaries on Galatians Philemon, Downers Grove 2009. Studies: A. Souter, A Study of Ambrosiaster: TSt 74, Cambridge 1905; W. Mundle, Die Exegese der paulinischen Briefe in Kommentar des Ambrosiaster, Marburg 1919; A. Souter, The Earliest Latin Commentaries on the Epistles of St. Paul, Oxford 1927; DBS 1, 225-241; C. Martini, Ambrosiaster. De auctore, operibus, theologia, Rome 1944; TRE 2, 356-362; Patrologia III, 169-180 bibl.; A. Pollastri, Ambrosiaster. Commento alla lettera ai Romani. Aspetti cristologici, L’Aquila 1977; Id., Il prologo del Commento alla Lettera ai Romani dell’Ambrosiaster: SSR 2 1978 93-127; Id., Nota all’interpretazione di Matteo 13,33, Luca 13,21 nel frammento Incipit de tribus mensuris: SSR 3 1979 61-78; Id., Sul rapporto tra cristiani e giudei secondo il Commento dell’Ambrosiaster ad alcuni passi paolini Gal 3,19b-20; 4,4; Rom 11,16.20.25-26a; 15,11: SSR 4 1980 313-327; L. Speller, Ambrosiaster and the Jews: SP XVII1 1982 72-78; J. Chapa Prado, El comentario de Ambrosiaster a las epistolas de san Pablo doctoral thesis directed by C. Basevi, Pamplona 1983; Ambrosiaster, Commento alla lettera ai Romani ed. A. Pollastri, Rome 1984; N. Cipriani, Un’altra traccia dell’Ambrosiaster in Agostino De pecc. mer. remiss. II,36,58-59: Augustinianum 24 1984 515-525; L. Fatica, Ambrosiaster: l’esegesi nei Commentari alle Epistole ai Corinzi: VetChr 2 1987 269-292; Ambrosiaster, Commento alla lettera ai Galati ed. L. Fatrica, Rome 1986; W. Geerlings, Rmisches Recht und Gnadentheologie, in var. aus., Homo Spiritalis, W¼rzburg 1987, 357-377; Ambrosiaster, Commento alla prima lettera ai Corinzi ed. L. Fatica, Rome 1989; Ambrosiaster, Commento alla seconda lettera ai Corinzi ed. L. Fatica, Rome 1989; D.G. Hunter, On the Sin of Adam and Eve: A Little-Known Defense of Marriage and Childbearing by Ambrosiaster, HTR 82 1989 283-299; M. Pesce, Il commentario dell’Ambrosiaster alla Prima lettera ai corinzi. Alla ricerca della differenza tra esegesi antica ed esegesi storica: Annali di storia dell’esegesi 72 1990 593-629; J.B. Valero, Pera ed Adn: segºn Ambrosiaster: EstEcl 65 1990 147-191; D. Hunter, The Paradise of Patriarchy: Ambrosiaster on Woman as not God’s Image: JTS n.s. 43 1992 447-469; L. Perrone, Echi della polemica pagana sulla Bibbia negli scritti esegetici fra IV e V secolo: le Quaestiones Veteris et Novi Testamenti dell’Ambrosiaster: Annali di storia dell’esegesi 111 1993 161-185; O. Heggelbacher, Beziehungen zwischen Ambrosiaster und Maximus von Turin?: Freigurger Zeitschrift f¼r Philosophie und Theologie 41 1994 5-44; A.A.R. Bastiaensen, Augustin commentateur de saint Paul et l’Ambrosiaster: SE 36 1996 17-65; A. Merkt, Wer war der Ambrosiaster?: Wissenschaft und Weisheit 59 1996 19-33; W. Geerlings, Das verst¤ndnis von Gesetz im Galaterbriefkommentar des Ambrosiaster, in Die Weltlichkeit des Glaubens in der Alten Kirche, Festschrift f¼r Ulrich Wickert, Berlin-New York 1997, 101-113; J. St¼ben, Erasmus von Rotterdam und der Ambrosiaster: Wissenschaft und Weisheit 60 1997 3-22; A. Pollastri, Escatologia e Scrittura nell’Ambrosiaster: Annali di storia dell’esegesi 171 2000 109-132; A.A.R. Bastiaensen, Pauline Exegesis and Ambrosiaster, in Augustine Biblical Exegete eds. F. Van Fleteren – J. Schnaubelt, New York 2001, 33-54; PCBE 1, 102-104; S. Lunn-Rockliffe, Ambrosiaster’s Political Theology, Oxford Early Christian Studies, Oxford 2007. 

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