CICERO, AMBROSE, AND AQUINAS “ON DUTIES”OR THE LIMITS OF GENRE IN MORALS
To compose a Christian book on exemplary Christian living, Ambrose appropriates and criticizes Cicero's book on “duties,”De officiis. In many passages within the moral part of his Summa of Theology, Thomas Aquinas incorporates quotations from both Cicero and Ambrose. Comparison of the three texts raises issues about the relation of genres to terms, arguments, rules, and ideals in religious teaching. Genre becomes a useful category for analyzing religious rhetoric only when it is conceived as a set of persuasive or pedagogical relations below a text's surface disposition.