By Jaroslav Pelikan
Presents an account of the lives and writings of the Cappadocians, exhibiting how they controlled to be Greek and Christian while. Pelikan concentrates on 4 Cappadocians: Gregory of Nazianzus, Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa and Macrina, sister and instructor of the final .
Read Online or Download Christianity and Classical Culture: The Metamorphosis of Natural Theology in the Christian Encounter with Hellenism PDF
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Additional info for Christianity and Classical Culture: The Metamorphosis of Natural Theology in the Christian Encounter with Hellenism
Gent. " In this Nyssen was speaking from the personal and professional experience of having at one time "preferred to be called a professor of rhetoric rather than of Christianity," as Gregory of Nazianzus said of him. Thus also, according to Gregory of Nyssa, the young Basil had been "puffed up beyond measure with the pride of oratory," and it was none other than Macrina who eventually led him "toward the mark of 'philosophia,'" which was in this context a term not for technical Classical philosophy but for Christian asceticism.
What Basil and Libanius had in common, moreover, was not only a dedication to the Greek language but a devotion to "the specific object of Greek education and the highest Greek culture," namely, to Greek rhetoric, which Basil had in common as well with the other Cappadocians (even though they all claimed to be putting their logoi as language into the service of Christ as the Logos of God). " Macrina, too, was said to be well acquainted with rhetoric. Therefore, when, in the dialogue about the soul and the resurrection, her brother Gregory resorted to rhetorical techniques (or tricks), she was in a position immediately to identify them as such and to call him down for them.
This eloquence, according to Gregory of Nazianzus, originally "was the product of a training in the doctrines on the outside," in the culture of the Classical tradition; but, he added, it had now been "ennobled by the divine doctrines" of the Christian tradition. Therefore, it was unwarranted for champions of Classicism like the emperor Julian to deny the Christians a right to the Greek language and to Greek rhetoric. Rhetoric helped to shape biblical exegesis; and also as a mature Christian, indeed as a bishop, Gregory of Nazianzus continued to pay careful attention to the rules of literary composition, as the Classical skill and technical correctness of his poetry, even of his didactic and dogmatic poetry, amply demonstrated.