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Gregory of Nazianzus on the Trinity and the Knowledge of God: In Your Light We Shall See Light (Oxford Studies in Historical Theology)by Christopher A. Beeley
Synopses & Reviews
Gregory of Nazianzus (329-390 CE), "the Theologian," is the premier teacher on the Holy Trinity in Eastern Christian tradition, yet for over a century historians and theologians have largely neglected his work.
Christopher Beeley's groundbreaking study — the first comprehensive study in modern Western scholarship — examines Gregory's doctrine of the Trinity within the full range of his theological and practical vision. Following an overview of Gregory's life and major works, Beeley traces the central soteriological meaning of Gregory's doctrine in the spiritual dialectic of purification and illumination; the dynamic process of divinization (theosis); the singular identity of Jesus Christ as the eternal Son of God; the divinity and essential presence of the Holy Spirit; and the interpretation of Scripture "according to the Spirit." The book culminates in Gregory's understanding of the Trinity as a whole — which is "theology" in the fullest sense — rooted in the monarchy of God the Father and uniquely known in the divine economy of salvation. Finally, Beeley identifies the Trinitarian shape of pastoral ministry, on which Gregory is also the foundational teacher for later Christian tradition.
Beeley offers new insights in several key areas, reinterpreting the famous Theological Orations and Christological epistles within the full corpus of Gregory's orations, poems, and letters. Gregory stands out as the leading ecclesiastical figure in the Eastern Roman Empire and the most powerful theologian of his age, who produced the definitive expression of Trinitarian orthodoxy from a characteristically Eastern tradition of Origenist theology, independent of the work of Athanasius and in several respects more insightful than his Cappadocian contemporaries.
Long eclipsed in modern scholarship, Gregory Nazianzen is now brought into full view as the major witness to the Trinity among the Greek fathers of the Church.
Gregory of Nazianzus (329-390 C.E.) has had an immeasurable influence on the Eastern and Western Christian traditions. Along with his homiletical, ecclesiastical, and literary achievements, Gregory's doctrine of the Trinity became the definitive expression of the orthodox faith in Greek
Christian tradition, which caused him to be the only person other than John the Evangelist to be granted the title of "Theologian" by an ecumenical church council. As a testimony to Gregory's importance, he is the most cited author after the Bible in Byzantine Christian literature.
Christopher Beeley's groundbreaking study-the first comprehensive treatment in modern scholarship-examines Gregory's doctrine of the Trinity in the full range of his theological and practical vision. Following an overview of Gregory's life and major theological works, Beeley examines Gregory's
teaching on a vast range of subjects: the purification and illumination of the theologian; the human limitations and the divine possibilities of the knowledge of God; the unique identity of Christ; Gregory's dynamic understanding of "divinization"; and the distinctive place of the Holy Spirit in
Christian theology. Beeley's expansive discussion culminates in Gregory's understanding of the Trinity as a whole, which proves to be the fundamental principle of all Christian doctrine and practice. Finally, Beeley identifies the Trinitarian shape and purpose of pastoral ministry, of which Gregory
is also the seminal theorist in Christian tradition.
Beeley offers new insights in several key areas, including the reinterpretation of the famous Theological Orations and Christological epistles within the larger framework of Gregory's corpus. Long eclipsed in twentieth-century scholarship, Gregory's doctrine is now brought into full view as the
major Greek witness to the Trinity as the governing principle and the main interpretive framework of the Christian life.
About the Author
Christopher A. Beeley is the Walter H. Gray Assistant Professor of Anglican Studies and Patristics at Yale University Divinity School and Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, and an Episcopal priest.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Gregory's Life and Work
1. God and the Theologian
2. Jesus Christ
3. The Holy Spirit
4. The Trinity
5. Pastoral Ministry and the Trinity
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