When Policy and Practice Diverged: “Life of Angels” for Jerome, Jovinian & Ambrosiaster

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Rebecca Faber

Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski"

18 May 2021, 6 PM

ZOOM https://zoom.us/j/93415907103

        Meeting ID  93415907103


Are women vile demons who materialize to torment, harass and irritate holy men? Or are they God’s instrument for the improvement and perfection of male character? Does having a wife undermine priestly piety, as proponents affirming ascetic renunciation argued, or are married and unmarried Christians equal in God’s sight? These issues and Christian encratites occupied the minds of leaders in fourth century Christianity.

This lecture analyses how eminent orthodox in the early church addressed questions of sacerdotal abstinence within the context of historical discourse, citing their exegesis of 1 Corinthians 7 combined with study of ritual purification laws mandated in Leviticus for Hebrew priests.

The questions are discussed through the prism of selected writings of St Jerome of Stridon, Jovinian of Rome (through letters of Siricius, pope of Rome), and Ambrosiaster. Special emphasis is given to Jerome’s advocacy of virginity in his letters 22 and 130, his refutation of Jovinian in Adversus Jovinianum, and Amrbrosiaster’s, commentaries

The lecture concludes with a comparison of these views developed by the church scholars with suggestions for further study of the questions in other works.



This page is part of the project LABedia: Еncyclopedia of Late Antique Balkans, 4th-5th c.,
financed by the National Science Fund, contract КП-06-Н30/6, 13.12.2018