This translation makes available nineteen orations by the fourth-century Cappadocian father Gregory of Nazianzus. Most are appearing here in English for the first time. These homilies span all the phases of Gregory's ecclesiastical career, beginning with his service as a parish priest assisting his father, the elder Gregory, in his hometown of Nazianzus in the early 360s, to his stormy tenure as bishop of Constantinople from 379 to 381, to his subsequent return to Nazianzus and role as interim caretaker of his home church (382-83). Composed in a variety of rhetorical formats such as the lalia and encomium, the sermons treat topics that range from the purely theological to the deeply personal.
Up until now, Gregory has been known primarily for his contributions as a theologian, indifferent to the social and political concerns that consumed his friend Basil. This view will change. It has been due in large measure to the interests and prejudices of the nineteenth-century editors who excluded the sermons translated here from the Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Church. This new translation will help the English-speaking reader appreciate just how deeply Gregory was engaged in the social and political issues of his day.
Exemplifying the perfect synthesis of classical and Christian paideia, these homilies will be required reading for anyone interested in late antiquity. The introduction and notes accompanying the translation will assist both the specialist and the general reader as they seek to navigate the complex environment in which Gregory lived and worked.
Martha Vinson is Associate Professor of Byzantine Studies at Indiana University.
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK:
"[W]ith the appearance of Vinson's volume, for the first time all of the orations have English translations.... The works contained in her volume are of great interest." — Nonna Verna Harrison, St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly
"[M]ost of these sermons appear here for the first time in an English translation.... [R]eading them dose not only provide us with information about a crucial period in the history of the church or about the personal struggle of one of the central figures in that period and not only do we get some glimpses of the concerns of a good pastor in troubled times long past: reading them can inspire to self-reflection and commitment so necessary at all times." — H. Rikhof, Bijdragen