Re-Reading Gregory of Nazianzus

Re-Reading Gregory of Nazianzus

EDITED BY Christopher A. Beeley
Copyright Date: 2012
DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284zwd
Pages: 312
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Re-Reading Gregory of Nazianzus
    Book Description:

    This book, the newest volume in the CUA Studies in Early Christianity, presents original works by leading patristics scholars on a wide range of theological, historical, and cultural topics

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1992-9
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284zwd.1
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284zwd.2
    (pp. vii-viii)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284zwd.3
  4. GREGORY OF NAZIANZUS: Past, Present, and Future
    (pp. ix-xiv)
    Christopher A. Beeley
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284zwd.4

    The past forty years have seen nothing short of a revolution in the study of St. Gregory of Nazianzus. Long honored with the title “the Theologian,” conferred by the Council of Chalcedon in 451, Gregory is now widely recognized as the veritable architect of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, a source of great importance for the historiography of late antique and early medieval Christianity, a reservoir of information about classical antiquity, and a major theologian and literary figure in his own right. As he attracts new scholarship in several academic disciplines, Gregory Nazianzen is rapidly emerging as a subject of historical and...

    • 1. Systematic Theology in Homeric Dress: Poemata arcana
      (pp. 3-12)
      Brian E. Daley
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284zwd.5

      In the American academic world today, it is customary to distinguish between “systematic” theology and theology in its historical or scriptural forms. Whatever one thinks of the validity of such distinctions—and from a Christian perspective, at least, they raise serious questions—one must recognize that the project of forming one’s religious understanding of God, the world, and the human journey into a single, coherent whole began long before Barth or Tillich, or even Thomas Aquinas. From Varro to academic Platonists, scholars and thinkers in antiquity showed a perennial instinct not just for research and speculation, but also for tying...

    • 2. Illumined from All Sides by the Trinity: Neglected Themes in Gregory’s Trinitarian Theology
      (pp. 13-30)
      Verna E. F. Harrison
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284zwd.6

      In recent studies Michel Barnes and Lewis Ayres have drawn attention to a broad consensus among fourth-century defenders of Nicaea, in particular the Cappadocians and Augustine. They have highlighted how these theologians argue for the full divinity of the Son and the Holy Spirit and their equality with the Father on the grounds that the activity of the three persons in the created world is one, and hence their nature is one. Thus, when Scripture speaks of one of them acting, the other two must be present and active, too, and together they produce a single activity.¹ Ayres concludes from...

    • 3. Gregory of Nazianzus and Biblical Interpretation
      (pp. 31-48)
      Ben Fulford
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284zwd.7

      Although sought after as a teacher of Scripture in his own day, Gregory of Nazianzus does not conform to our expectations of patristic exegesis and has attracted relatively little sustained attention as a biblical interpreter.¹ We have no formal hermeneutical treatise, no commentaries, and no proper exegetical homilies extant from him.² In what sense, then, if any might Gregory merit attention as a biblical interpreter? In what follows I do not attempt to examine every angle of Gregory’s work as a biblical interpreter, but focus on three in particular to help answer this question.³ First, Gregory carried forward an Origenian...

    • 4. Deciphering a Recipe for Biblical Preaching in Oration 14
      (pp. 49-66)
      Brian J. Matz
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284zwd.8

      Everyone who studies the works of Gregory Nazianzen in this day eventually passes with no little amount of pleasure through the scholarship of Fred Norris. I have worked my way more than once through his helpful commentary on Gregory’s Theological Orations, through his insightful connection between Wittgenstein and Gregory’s own use of language, through his critique of Harnack in appreciating Gregory’s careful use of secular literature, and in many other fields of Gregorian studies that our editor has outlined in his introduction.¹ Meeting Professor Norris for the first time at a meeting of the North American Patristic Society some years...

    • 5. Gregory’s Baptismal Theology and the Alexandrian Tradition
      (pp. 67-83)
      Everett Ferguson
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284zwd.9

      Fred Norris has made major contributions to understanding the Trinitarian theology of Gregory of Nazianzus, and in tribute to him I want to give further consideration to Gregory’s baptismal theology, for which he is a principal fourth-century source.¹ Gregory of Nazianzus shares much in common with his fellow Cappadocians Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa, but for this chapter I want to note his commonalities with the Alexandrians, principally Clement of Alexandria and Origen.² Gregory’s indebtedness to Origen is well recognized,³ and Fred noted Gregory’s view of language was the same as Clement’s and Origen’s.⁴

      In a passage that...

    • 6. Gregory of Nazianzus, Montanism, and the Holy Spirit
      (pp. 84-102)
      William Tabbernee
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284zwd.10

      As is well known, Gregory of Nazianzus (ca. 329–390) arrived in Constantinople in September 379 to commence a theological preaching and teaching mission. His mission had as its aim the advancement of Nicene orthodoxy in the city and the establishment of a viable unity among the members of the then current theological factions, who strongly disagreed about various aspects of the way in which the Trinity should be defined and understood. What is not so well known is that Gregory, as part of his rhetorical strategy, made use of polemical references to Montanus (d. ca. 175) and Montanists.¹ Gregory...

    • 7. Gregory Nazianzen and Philosophy, with Remarks on Gregory’s Cynicism
      (pp. 103-122)
      Claudio Moreschini
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284zwd.11

      It is well known that for the Cappadocian fathers—and especially for Gregory of Nazianzen—the term “philosophy” signifies “the Christian life” or “the contemplation of Christian truth.”¹ When referring to the contemplation of Christian truth, philosophein and theologein are almost equivalent in Gregory’s works, though philosophein occurs with greater frequency. Yet, in addition to these basic senses, philosophein carries a controversial meaning, as well. This polemical sense reflects Gregory’s sophistic art and his refined use of logoi: “[the doctor] discoursing learnedly on your disease after you are dead,” as he puts it in one of his orations.²

      Gregory also...

    • 8. Historiography as Devotion: Poemata de seipso
      (pp. 125-142)
      Suzanne Abrams Rebillard
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284zwd.12

      It is difficult to distill Gregory of Nazianzus’ poetic project from his Poemata de seipso: the pieces are too disparate in form, style, and focus to allow generalization, and the grouping as a collection is a modern one, not Gregory’s own.¹ Monks of St. Maur first collected the ninety-nine poems together in the eighteenth century, a grouping that Migne retained in his volume devoted to Gregory’s poetic corpus as book 2, section 1, the Poemata historica: poemata de seipso.² The widely held perception of these poems as a trustworthy historical source likely stems in part from this grouping and its...

    • 9. The Stoning of Christ and Gregory of Nazianzus
      (pp. 143-158)
      Andrew Hofer
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284zwd.13

      “Children, for my sake, ‘guard what has been entrusted to you’; remember my stoning! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all! Amen!”¹ With these words, Gregory of Nazianzus ends his Farewell to the Bishops, dramatically set in his departure from Constantinople in 381.² Gregory ensures that people would remember his stoning from the Easter Vigil of 380 by referring or alluding to it throughout his writings.³ For example, it is here evoked in Pauline fashion.⁴ What is the significance of this oft-recalled episode of Gregory’s life for his Christology?⁵

      To answer this question, the present chapter...

    • 10. Bishops Behaving Badly: Helladius Challenges Gregory of Nazianzus and Gregory of Nyssa
      (pp. 159-177)
      Vasiliki Limberis
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284zwd.14

      Scholars have generally overlooked the interpersonal exchanges in the lives of Gregory of Nazianzus and Gregory of Nyssa, since they are tangential to the study of theological anthropology and the Trinity. Such are the “Helladius affairs,” the rousing stories of Bishop Helladius’ contentious behavior against Gregory of Nazianzus and Gregory of Nyssa.¹ These mundane events not only give valuable biographical information, they also isolate moments in their individual lives within the context of their social situations as powerful bishops. In the fourth century a bishop’s social status was fraught with the Christian prescriptions of humility, poverty, and retreat from the...

    • 11. The Tax Man and the Theologian: Gregory, Hellenius, and the Monks of Nazianzus
      (pp. 178-196)
      Neil McLynn
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284zwd.15

      Gregory Nazianzen’s poem “To Hellenius, an Exhortation Concerning the Monks,” one of the small group addressed “to others,” has rarely been examined as a whole.¹ The purpose of this chapter is to attempt such an examination and to suggest that the work casts a sharper light than has been realized on Gregory’s position in local society in the early 370s. I shall also suggest, more controversially, that it bears directly upon Gregory’s involvement in theological controversy and even upon his consecration as bishop of Sasima in 372. The sheer quantity of prosopographical information contained in the poem’s 368 elegiac verses...

    • 12. On the “Play” of Divine Providence in Gregory Nazianzen and Maximus the Confessor
      (pp. 199-217)
      Paul M. Blowers
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284zwd.16

      Maximus the Confessor’s Ambigua ad Joannem, addressed to Bishop John of Cyzicus (Anatolia), broaches perplexing passages in the writings of Gregory Nazianzen that Maximus clarifies in extensive expositions, often by giving Gregory’s words fresh nuances. The vulnerability of Gregory to misinterpretation raises the stakes all the more, as observable in Maximus’ vigorous attack on Origenists in the Ambigua ad Joannem.¹ But for Maximus, as bad a fate would be that Gregory’s words and images would fail to register their full impact and richness.

      In this chapter I will explore certain images from Gregory pertaining to divine providence that, though ostensibly...

    • 13. Gregory the Theologian, Constantine the Philosopher, and Byzantine Missions to the Slavs
      (pp. 218-235)
      Andrea Sterk
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284zwd.17

      As a young pupil in Thessalonica, Constantine the Philosopher, better known as St. Cyril, apostle to the Slavs, drew the sign of the cross on his wall and penned this eulogy to his lifelong patron and mentor. Gregory Nazianzen’s influence in Byzantine literature is well attested,¹ and the translation and importance of his writings in the Slavic world have also received attention.² Less explored and more puzzling in light of Gregory’s own career, however, is the connection in the latter half of the ninth century between Gregory and the fresh burst of missionary activity in this era. On several levels...

    • 14. Emperors and Priests: Gregory’s Theodosius and the Macedonians
      (pp. 236-251)
      Susanna Elm
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284zwd.18

      Between 879 and 882 CE, emperor Basil I and his family were presented with an illustrated copy of Gregory of Nazianzus’ Orations. Produced in Constantinople, this copy “is arguably the most complex and internally sophisticated illustrated manuscript ever produced in Byzantium.”¹ Known as Parisinus Graecus 510, it is also one of the most intensely discussed manuscripts, not least because it is only one of two extant illustrated manuscripts of all of Gregory’s orations (rather than of the selections known as the “liturgical sermons,” of which several illustrated copies survive).² In addition, the manuscript represents what “the artisans, their employer, and...

    • 15. St. Gregory the Theologian and Byzantine Theology
      (pp. 252-266)
      Andrew Louth
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284zwd.19

      In the Byzantine tradition, St. Gregory of Nazianzus was “the Theologian”; in later Byzantine tradition he appears together with St. Basil of Caesarea and St. John of Constantinople as one of the “ecumenical teachers,” celebrated together on January 30, each of whom has his epithet: St. Basil the “Great,” St. Gregory the “Theologian” and St. John the “Golden-mouthed” (Chrysostom, Χρυσόστομος). It seems clear that Gregory’s title is derived from the five orations, Orations 27–31, dubbed by modern editors the “theological orations,” a designation that has ancient support (though the list is not entirely stable: Oration 28 seems to have...

    • 16. St. Gregory the Comic
      (pp. 269-276)
      John A. McGuckin
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284zwd.20

      It was the experience of hearing Fred Norris preach, in church, a verbatim exposition of one of St. Gregory’s homilies, that made me realize for the first time how funny he was—Gregory, that is. People laughed in all the right places, and accordingly were ready to be “touched to the heart” in all the right places, too, for laughter and weeping can indeed be gateways to the soul. Christian preachers know this, for joy is one of the unfakeable gifts of the Holy Spirit.

      This was a shocking idea to classical antiquity, where weeping was considered the antithesis of...

  9. THE WORKS OF FREDERICK W. NORRIS (Excluding Reviews)
    (pp. 277-284)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284zwd.21
    (pp. 285-304)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284zwd.22
    (pp. 305-308)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284zwd.23
    (pp. 309-312)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284zwd.24
    (pp. 313-316)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284zwd.25
    (pp. 317-320)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284zwd.26
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 321-322)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt284zwd.27