In his writings and his career Gregory of Nyssa assumes many roles. He is a Christian Platonist, a spiritual guide for ascetics and those seeking the vision of God, as well as one of those who shaped the Trinitarian doctrine of God espoused at Constantinople in 381. But he is also a popular preacher and, paradoxically, someone unafraid of deeper speculations regarding the meaning of the Christian ideal. The translations in Part One illustrate these various concerns, but are not a sufficient basis for the thesis of Part Two, one that attempts to answer the question of how to describe the coherence of a thinker far from systematic. One solution is to appeal to Gregory's conviction that after this world all Christians, indeed all humans, will be united in diversity, and that this means that all are now on the one path to their destiny, however much their progress may differ. This answer does not pretend to solve all problems, nor does it rule out other approaches to Gregory's thought. But it locates Gregory's work in the liturgical and sacramental life of the church that includes ordinary as well as elite Christians. ""Gregory of Nyssa regards knowledge of the name of Christ as the 'one path' that all must follow to reach the divine life. This marvelous collection of translations and essays unfolds for us the various stages that Gregory locates along this path. With the assistance of two expert guides, Rowan Greer and Warren Smith, the reader moves along from baptism, via the contest of faith--modeled by ascetics, martyrs, and saints--to the completion and perfection of all humanity in Christ."" --Hans Boersma, Regent College, Vancouver, BC, Canada ""This volume by the late Rowan Greer is a tremendous boon for anyone interested in Gregory of Nyssa. The translations of Gregory's works, some of which have never appeared in English, are clear and faithful. The essays provide indispensable commentary, tying together these disparate texts around a common theme. . . . Warren Smith, a disciple of Greer's and a leading scholar of Gregory in his own right, deserves our deep gratitude for bringing this remarkable volume to light "" --Andrew Radde-Gallwitz, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN ""The late Rowan Greer has gifted us with a final fruit of decades of pondering the thought of Gregory of Nyssa. Through sensitive translations of a selection of the fourth-century church father's works and interpretive essays that combine vigorous scholarship and spiritual insight, Greer highlights Gregory's vision of the eschatological thrust of the path of Christian discipleship to which all Christians are called by virtue of their baptism. Greer has made Gregory an accessible guide for modern Christians."" --Mark DelCogliano, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN Rowan A. Greer joined the faculty of the Yale Divinity School in 1966 as an assistant professor of New Testament. In 1975 he was appointed Professor of Anglican Studies and shifted his teaching responsibilities from the New Testament to patristic theology and to the history and theologies of Anglicanism. He retired in 1997. His books include Broken Lights and Mended Lives (1986) and Christian Hope and Christian Life (2001).
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