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Greek Orthodox Theological Review

55:1-4 2010

Free Will and Vicinal Culpability in St. Gregory of Nyssas De vita Moysis
Andrew P. Klager

Evaluations of Gregory of Nyssas eschatology have paid particular attention to his distinctive espousal of apokatastasis, or the final restoration of humanity.1 This focus is justified not because it is, broadly speaking, a unique eschatological stance in patristic thought but because Gregory developed this understanding more deliberately, in more detail, and using a more prevalent Orthodox theological framework that does not rely on past interpretations dependent on Stoic and Plotinian neoplatonist conceptions of humanitys restoration to goodness or oneness.2 Such a pretended apokatastasis that envisaged the return of spirits alone to their alleged preexistent state is usually thought to be justly rejected at the fifth ecumenical council held in Constantinople (AD 553),3 the same council that simultaneously affirmed and commended Gregorys orthodoxy. However, this essay will refrain from any direct explication or assessment of Gregorys apokatastasis and will instead attempt to underscore two contiguous items as they are presented in his celebrated ascetic treatise De vita Moysis:4 (1) Gregorys affirmation and conception of the freedom of the will in light of his epistemology, and (2) his portrayal of human culpability and the divine response. At times, this essay will also touch on the consonant experience of self-con149


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demnation that characterizes the interface between free will and disobedience as it manifests itself within the principle of what I have elsewhere termed eschatological monism.5 These two concerns provide the reasons for Gregorys insistence that Gods final judgment is uniformly mercy, which opposes the eschatological dualism that has come to dominate Western Christian theology. This dualism has characterized the Wests eschatological vision especially since the inception of the schola augustiniana moderna, of which Gregory of Rimini (c. 130058) was the brainchild when he combined Augustinianism and the via moderna, and the popularization of Luthers hyper-Augustinianism against Johann Ecks moderatism at the 1519 Leipzig Disputation and in his Chrysopassus (1514).6 By way of definition, therefore, Gregorys eschatological monism opposes the belief that humanity is predestined, or destined in any respect, to undergo a transportation to one of two corporeal locations but rather proposes that the location, understood figuratively as a great mystery,7 is actually monadic and uniform, yet subjectively experienced multifariously based on ones ontological composition in either (passions)8 or (virtue).9 With this understanding, the splendor of the divine emanations and mercy yield either the painful purification of gehenna or the illuminating guidance into apophatic darkness at the apex of the holy mountain, which compels continued ontological, rather than mere epistemic, participation in the divine energeiai (energies).10 In the final analysis, Gregorys understanding and portrait of the freedom of the human will provides a helpful framework within which the response of divine mercy, accommodative of an eschatology of hope as opposed to the anticipated response of divine retribution, becomes explicable and indeed the only viable course of divine action.

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The Freedom of the Human Will

The Nature of Freedom Robert Jenson alleges that Gregorys initial spiritual guidance is simple. Do you want to turn from bodily things in order to be drawn to God? Just begin to do it.11 However, this understanding of the freedom of the will, of so-called free choice, lends itself to accusations of culpability and responsibility which permit a retributive backlash that is foreign to Gregory of Nyssas explication of free will. As we will soon discover, Gregory is more inclined to admit that there simply is not the innate condition whereby a human being can, properly speaking, choose attraction (i.e., desire or pleasure). In refusing to entertain the notion that God manipulates human destiny, Gregory concurrently rejects the notion that the freedom of the will implies a facile consent to virtue but instead defends quite the oppositethat the freedom of the will implies vulnerability and inevitable failure. This circumstance renders conformity difficult, and eventually compels God to become incarnate in co-suffering solidarity with and love for humanity. Further, the freedom of the will is a divinely devised anthropological maneuver designed to allow for at least the prospect of emancipation from the tyranny of death by virtue of humanitys mutability and susceptibility to progress in virtue. Gerhart Ladner summarizes this notion: One might resume Gregorys answer to this question thus: Only if man received mutability, which is essentially linked to his bodily constitution, and the gift of sexual propagation, would mankind as a whole be able to reach its pre-ordained pleroma, only thus would it have the opportunity to return to God. Without the mutable and mortal body man would have remained fixed in spiritual aversion from God, together with the fallen angels.12 While God created humanity so that it is free to unite itself with Christ and thus for a restorative purpose, escha-


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ton, or telos, the alternative, participation in evil and death, is a very real, indeed inevitable to some degree, recourse due to the lure of humanitys sensual setting. These disadvantageous circumstances are what cultivate divine mercy. On the other hand, if the freedom of the will and appending mutability were not part of Gods design, humanitys aversion to God not only would be inevitable, as it is likewise with the freedom of the will, but would be interminable as well. Roman Catholic ressourcement theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar very astutely explains this same notion as it appears in Gregorys thought, but with a consciousness toward becoming and the immanent infinite. He describes how for Gregory, only the uncreated essence is unable to express itself in movement, whereas the created being of which humanity is composed cannot escape movement by virtue of its beginning to be. Therefore, within this framework, Since its existence is, so to speak, a continuous effort to maintain itself in being, its perfection consists of a perpetual effort toward God13 (i.e., epektasis). Given the unenviable circumstances that humanity must endure, this is effort par excellence. Broadly speaking, participation in some degree of both virtue and evil is unavoidable to be sure, but the unremitting process of supervising and governing this volatile human will so that it can consist of a perpetual effort toward God, as von Balthasar states, is certainly not lost on Gregory and has profound implications for how he understands human culpability and the divine response to human transgression. A refinement of what exactly is meant by free will is useful not only because it allows insight into how Gregorys apokatastasis necessarily implies the integral preservation of mans free will14 but also so the aforementioned mishandling of the freedom of the will can be avoided. In short, Gregory describes free will15 in his De vita Moysis as the equidistant suspension between two prospective and latent invaders: virtue and passions, life and death, God and the

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Evil One.16 Gods design includes the image and likeness of God17 implanted in each human being and which reflects his own freedom, a freedom that places emphasis on the restoration of this image and likeness so that compliance with the divine will truly derives from the heart and not any violent coercion.18 As is readily evident, therefore, the freedom of the human will is inescapable, but in rendering disobedience to God and participation in death inevitable, it incites a divine response of mercy and restoration, the only true manifestation of justice when taking into account humanitys undesirable and enervating conditions. Gregory describes the suspension between virtue and passion by appealing to Holy Tradition, which suggests that God appointed an angel with an incorporeal nature to help in the life of each person, in addition to the corruptor [who], by an evil and maleficent demon, afflicts the life of man and contrives against our nature.19 While this may seem to imply direct contact and coercion, Gregory is quick to point out that the angel merely shows the benefits of virtue, while the opposing side shows the material pleasures in which there is no hope of future benefits.20 There is therefore no direct coercion by one side or the other; the passions tempt, while the side of virtue offsets the seduction of evil by showing the benefits of the alternate option, but both always from a distance. However, on the one hand, virtue is voluntarily self-subdued and non-encroaching or is innately so since it is by nature love, which refuses to coerce, while on the other hand, Christ has conquered death, which has thus been rendered impotent inasmuch as it was defeated when Christ gained access to it via his incarnation, thereby permitting his crucifixion and resurrection. That God intuitively does not coerce humanity to embrace virtue is demonstrated expressly in a section of De vita Moysis that outlines the hardening of Pharaohs heart, wherein Gregory insists that God did not directly compel Pharaoh to behave seditiously against the


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divine will but that Pharaoh was delivered up to shameful affections21 by God; in other words, God permitted, or at most perpetuated, the sedition that was already an unaffected expression of Pharaohs heart, and hence does not coerce. Gregory is even clearer when he explains that if God were to coerce in coincidence with the desire of his own will, then certainly any human choice would fall into line in every case, so that no distinction between virtue and vice in life could be observed.22 Similarly, by invoking the plague of darkness, Gregory explains that although the Egyptians visibility was darkened and obscured, to the Hebrews it is illuminated by the sun at the same time. Not only does this seemingly anomalous circumstance, as a uniform occurrence experienced multifariously, factor strongly into Gregorys principle of eschatological monism and self-condemnation, it also implies Gods refusal to coerce: It was not some constraining power from above that caused the one to be found in darkness and the other in light, but we men have in ourselves, in our own nature and by our own choice, the causes of light or darkness, since we place ourselves in whichever sphere we wish to be.23 In this sequence, moreover, Gregory immediately beforehand explains how when Moses stretched forth his hands on the Egyptians behalf, the frogs were instantly destroyed. This is, of course, a figure of the true lawgiver, Christ, who stretched forth his hands on the cross.24 Gregory further elaborates on the nature and function of Christs atoning work by employing an illustration of Moses wooden staff that parted the Red Sea as a figure of the cross also made of wood, which destroys the Egyptian pleasuresthat is, the passions that suffuse the soul.25 Elsewhere, Gregory claims that the bronze serpent that Moses lifted up on the wood rejects passion, diluting the poison as with a medicine,26 employing medical rather than juridical language very typical of Gregorys writings and Orthodox theological nomen-

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clature. It becomes evident, therefore, that in De vita Moysis, Gregory is attempting to set forth the truth that God himself does not threaten or compel obedience in virtue, and that while the Evil One eagerly aspires to use violence against humanity in order to force consent to ones passions, Christ conquered this death through his resurrection.27 Of particular interest is Gregorys implication of humanity in the conquering of death and the prospect of desire.28 As baptism is truly dying and rising with Christparticipating in the conquering of deathGregory uses the crossing of the Red Sea as a figure of baptism, when the Israelites, walking on the bottom of the sea, brought nothing of the opposing army along as they emerge[d] from the water but instead put to death in the water the whole phalanx of evil;29 as Christ conquered death through his resurrection, the church cooperates synergistically by entering into this resurrection through baptism to conquer death in a particular and special sense. Our participation in the conquering of death opens the opportunity for God to assist us in epektasisthe infinite ascent toward union with Christstimulating a synergism in the economy of our own salvation.30 Although Gregory seems to indicate that ones choice is, at least on the surface, quite arbitrary and indeed not easily regulated,31 the root of the impulse toward union with Christ and a life of virtue, however, is ultimately a great mystery; after prescribing his readers to follow the divine commands like those who are hungry and eagerly fill up on the things set before them, Gregory immediately describes such thoughts as beyond our understanding in line with the pervasive apophatic character of Gregorys thought as a whole.32 Free Will and Epistemology: Gregory of Nyssas Apophasis and Epektasis While the freedom of the will ostensibly leaves those who reject Christ vulnerable to a juridical response of divine ret-


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ribution,33 Gregorys epistemological teaching on apophasis and ontological teaching on epektasis, for which the purity of the soul is requisite and theoria is its ultimately unattainable goal (at least in its completeness),34 add new layers of skepticism about humanitys capacity for obedience and union with Christ. The central idea that at times dominates Gregorys writings so much that it is merely taken for granted is his apophaticism.35 When Gregory discusses the incomprehensibility and ineffability of God, it is first and foremost because of the infinity and inapproachability of the divine essencethat the ascendancy of the uncreated divine essence or ousia itself precludes mere epistemic apprehension through social analogies36 from the created order, which instead demands direct contemplation (theoria) by way of the purity of the soul.37 Gregory is clear on this point when he describes Moses ascent of the holy mountain, since that which is sought transcends all knowledge, being separated on all sides by incomprehensibility as by a kind of darkness,38 at which point Moses came to know that what is divine is beyond all knowledge and comprehension.39 But even in this description there exists the recognition that humanity is itself obstructed in its ascent, since anything that humans can measure by the senses is marked off by certain definite boundaries,40 so that the divine is there where the understanding cannot reach.41 Moreover, Gregorys apophasis is operative in deliberations not only about the divine essence but also about the ineffable teaching of God and mystical doctrines that Moses received from God on the mountain,42 elsewhere designating godliness itself as a mystery.43 Indeed, as Sara Denning-Bolle claims, Gregory is here departing company with Plato, who believes that the realm of the intelligible is where real knowledge resides and is therefore knowable.44 But Gregorys apophatic approach renders ultimately unknowable, certainly in any exhaustive sense, both the sensible and intelligible realms. With such

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an emphasis on the elusiveness of the divine essence and the telos of his salvific requirements, one begins to understand why Gregory is slow to pronounce Gods wrath on those who reject Christ or apostatize. But Gregory brings apophasis and the purity of the soul leading to theoria together in a most interesting way that nevertheless does not necessarily solve the problem more than it describes the nature of a prospective solution, however demanding and burdensome it may be. To the extent that one participates in the divine energeiai, ascends the holy mountain, and unites with Christ, he places his own soul, like a mirror, face to face with the hope of good things, with the result that the images and impression of virtue, as it is shown to him by God, are imprinted on the purity of his soul.45 Therefore, the way to such knowledge is purity,46 and when he is so purified, then he assaults the mountain.47 The epistemological ramification of Gregorys apophasis on humanitys ability to stand in virtue is clear: Religious virtue is divided into two parts, into that which pertains to the Divine and that which pertains to right conduct (for purity of life is a part of religion). Moses learns at first the things which must be known about God (namely, that none of those things known by human comprehension is to be ascribed to him). Then he is taught the other side of virtue, learning by what pursuits the virtuous life is perfected.48 Gregory employs several images to depict this mutual reliance between apophasis and theoria: the mysterious characteristics of the cloud that guided the Hebrews in the wilderness is an image of this apophasis that guides one into the promised land;49 the revelation of the heavenly tabernacle by way of a material imitation here on earth teaches that God can be known only by analogy;50 and the incomprehensibleness of contemplating [] the ineffable secrets is exhibited in the wings covering the face of God that Isaiah describes and Gregory adduces to interpret the


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wings of the cherubim that cover the ark in which the presence of God rests.51 By further framing this interdependence between apophasis and theoria with incarnational concerns, Gregory explains that when Moses sees the back of God (apophasis), this is actually alluding to Christs demand for followers (purity of the soul), who would of course see his back when literally following him; this is purity of the soul by way of apophasis.52 But how do these central themes of apophasis and theoria impact Gregorys understanding of human culpability? The first characteristic to consider is Gregorys understanding of epektasis,53 which is a direct outcome of jointly applying his teachings on both apophasis and theoria. Paul Blowers, for instance, underscores both the strong ontological and eschatological character of Gregorys epektasis, within which human beings find their true ontological and eschatological stability through eternal moral change for the better and ascent toward the immutable God.54 Gregorys concept of epektasis also declares that union with Christ and ascent of the holy mountain toward ineffable darkness is infinite in coincidence with Gods infiniteness,55 and is therefore ultimately, though not pessimistically, unfeasible, so that our statement that grasping perfection with reference to virtue is impossible was not false.56 Not surprisingly, Gregorys epektasis underscores the same epistemological barrier that his apophasis also exposes: that, as Albert-Kees Geljon observes, perfection of all things that are measured by senseperception is marked off by definite limits.57 The epistemological limitations that result from subjugation to sense-perception characteristic of human creatureliness give way, of course, to limitations in human progress in virtue itself. Indeed, the gnawings of desire are frequently active even in the faithful.58 Therefore, while the freedom of the will ideally places humanity in a position to apprehend Christ,59 it actually creates a situation whereby

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humanity is requested to perform the impossible. This is the case because there exists a conflict in us, for man is set before competitors as the prize of their contest,60 while ultimately free will [has an] inclination to evil61 so that it was only to be expected that some would be filled with lust.62 Progression in virtue is arduous because humanity is at times enslaved by trickery,63 while Gregory describes the passions as a fierce and raging master to the servile reasoning, tormenting it with pleasures as though they were scourges.64 So much does Gregory sympathize with the unenviable situation within which humanity finds itself that the only time he uses the word (blame) is in reference to the devil, whom the history [for] producing evil in men [which] leads them to the subsequent sin.65 Indeed, as Alan Dunstone observes, Gregory stresses the culpability of death.66 Another factor that Gregory introduces is the inherent immaturity of humanity, a common anthropogenic concept of the Greek fathers, especially Irenaeus of Lyons.67 The circumstances created by this immaturity and attenuation of the human ability to ascend the mountain is further strained by the many conditions Gregory places on humanitys capacity for obedience, not the least of which is being somehow favorably disposed to what is presented,68 while someone who does not know the way cannot complete his journey safely.69

III. Vicinal Culpability

Proximity to the Offense versus Dispassionate Choice Gregory of Nyssa maintains a delicate balance between the very real and immediate prospect of falling into sin and humanitys inherent and created goodness. This tension calibrates any possibility of falling into an emphasis on the total depravity of humanity that is inconsistent with Gregorys anthropology and soteriology. By holding the goodness of hu-


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manity and its vulnerability to passions in balance, Gregory readily acknowledges the inevitability of sin70 and Gods commensurate refusal to enact retribution on humanity due to that which cannot be avoided. If free will implies the necessary rejection of God, at least for a time and to some degree, how then is retribution a just response? I wish, therefore, to advance the principle of vicinal culpability to describe Gregorys explanation of the nature and function of human blameworthiness, wherein culpability is determined not by guilt or a neutral, dispassionate, and preventable attraction to disobedience but instead by ones proximity to the offensethat is, who is connected to or in the vicinity of the offense. The purpose of culpability, if so understood, is not to project guilt to elicit divine retribution but merely to identify the offender, or perhaps more appropriate for Gregory, the infirmed in need of healing and convalescence. Gregory describes how a person is found in proximity to the offense by following a succession from (1) (desire) to (2) (pleasure) and finally to the (3) (passions), variously described as that which induces desire as well as the offenses against God themselves. By recalling these conduits between the person and the offense, the offender can be identified not for divine retribution or any punitive reaction but in order that this person might be restored, healed, and reconciled to God. This is Gods desire and is the solution to how God is indeed love, yet simultaneously refuses to let humanity escape responsibility for its transgressionsand, more important, is disinterested in permitting anything that he created to remain dissimilar to that which he ultimately desires it to be. Using this same terminology to describe the dire circumstances that humanity must overcome, Gregory declares, now having learned what great power for evil the disease of pleasure possesses, we should conduct our lives as far removed from it as possible; otherwise the disease may find

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some opening against us, like fire whose proximity causes an evil flame.71 The trajectory through pleasure and eventually ending in the passions is initiated by desire: i.e., temptation, or the beckoning of passion. Gregory discusses the role of desire in leading astray those who are normally faithful to God in the final passages of De vita Moysis. Here, he describes desire as the very root of evil, while this desire arises through sight,72 and is thus stimulated by temptation and an attraction to that which is external, sensible, and easily perceptible. Desire is that attraction which arises when one is placed within an environment hostile to virtue that develops as a result of sins suffusing the fabric of the cosmos. While human beings as Gods creation remain good and capable of cooperating with divine grace, their environs have also decayed so that it enfolds humanity in an indiscriminate blanket of seduction toward evil. Gregory portrays this surrounding context as patently volatile, its capriciousness replicated in the actions of anyone (i.e., everyone) who comes into contact with it. Hence, Gregory observes, Everyone knows that anything placed in a world of change never remains the same but is always passing from one thing to another, the alteration always bringing about something better or worse.73 Elsewhere, Gregory relates how the restless and heaving motion of life thrusts from itself those who do not totally submerge themselves in the deceits of human affairs and it reckons as a useless burden those whose virtue is annoying.74 The desire and lure of disobedient behavior cultivates pleasure in the one who inevitably indulges. Gregory describes this pleasure as evils bait, since it draws gluttonous souls to the fish hook of destruction.75 While desire beckons, pleasure is the attraction itself and assent to the temptation that one realistically cannot refuse if it is an expression of the true nature of ones heart. In a way that is very consistent with Gregorys restorative and curative emphasis, he identi-


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fies pleasure as a disease76 and even admits that pleasure is an enemy of ours that is hard to fight and difficult to overcome.77 We are beginning to see, therefore, that although humanity possesses a free will, this does not imply that it can consistently and continually choose virtue over passion; rather, human beings make choices in compliance with the complexion of their hearts, something that cannot be chosen in any strict sense but can be sedulously molded through cooperation with divine grace. One gets the picture that human beings are analogous to a feather blowing capriciously in the air this way and that by the arbitrary thrusts of the wind, which is the decaying environment that engulfs humanity and is the outlying beckoning of either evil or virtue. The feather responds in keeping with its nature, being light and acquiescent. The feather is therefore free, sometimes too free, but its choice (this word admittedly being perhaps too imprecise and loaded) is always an expression of its own nature: lightness. St. Silouan the Athonite offers a similar analogy: Not all souls are equally strong. Some are sturdy as stone, others frail as smoke. Those like smoke are the proud souls. As the wind bears smoke hither and thither, so does the enemy sway them whichever way he will, for either they have no patience or else are easily deceived. But the humble soul keeps the Lords commandments and stands firm in them like a rock buffeted by the waves.78 There is a certain reciprocity between pleasure and the passions wherein the passions can be inflamed by some external force which can bring out the nature of the illness, earlier identified as pleasure, whereas this pleasure itself by way of the senses allows the passions to pour in upon the soul from the dishonorable things which are seen.79 True to form, Gregory is quick to point out that human nature is especially drawn to this passion, being led to the disease along thousands of ways.80 But it must be recognized, as we observed earlier, that God does not compel one toward the

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passions or away from the passions but rather delivers up to passion him whom he does not protect because he is not acknowledged by him.81 Therefore, desire, pleasure, and the passions are, according to Gregory, inevitable obstacles that combine to regulate the divine operations that address the sedition and disobedience of humanity. As a disease infuses a human being involuntarily, Gregory suggests eschatological restoration rather than retribution, and this first by way of the co-suffering love of the incarnate Christ. The Incarnate Christ and Co-suffering Love The incarnate Christ figures prominently in De vita Moysis, particularly in portrayals of Moses as a type of Christ.82 The inclusion of the incarnation as a subject closely related to the ascent of the holy mountain is telling for at least two reasons. First, Gregory describes the incarnation as a mechanism by which God experiences the unfavorable circumstances within which humanity unfortunately finds itself, and therewith is given cause to advance a pronouncement of mercy and, by extension, a program of restoration. Second, it supplements the historical account of Moses by underscoring its spiritual and allegorical implications that Gregory routinely introduces, which is very characteristic of his ultimate concern: humanitys ascent of the mountain into the darkness of knowing without knowing after the full revelation of God in Christ, his incarnation, life, death, and resurrection. Within a revealing exposition on the theophany of the burning bush, Gregory makes mention of the incarnation for the first time: For if truth is God and truth is light [of the burning bush]the Gospel testifies by these sublime and divine names to the God who made himself visible to us in the flesh such guidance of virtue leads us to know that light which has reached down even to human nature.83 It is especially important to note with what high degree of clarity Gregory explains the primary reason why God took on the flesh of the human-


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ity for which he cannot but show irrepressible compassion. Very soon after introducing the incarnation, Gregory claims, although the divine nature is contemplated in its immutability, by condescension to the weakness of human nature it was changed to our shape and form.84 So much does God kenotically identify with his creation that Christ became a serpent, as too did the rod of Moses, that he might devour and consume the Egyptian serpents produced by the sorcerers,85 which Gregory earlier claimed is an image of wiping away our infirmities before he again returned to his own bosom the hand which had been among us and had received our complexion.86 Therefore, while the father of sin is called a serpent by Holy Scripture and what is born of the serpent is certainly a serpent the Lord was made into sin for our sake by being invested with our sinful nature.87 Eventually the serpent is transformed back into the rod of faith supporting [sinners] through their hopes and man, then, is freed from sin through him who assumed the form of sin and became like us who had turned into the form of the serpent.88 One image Gregory employs to demonstrate this support and co-suffering love is the manna that was sent from heaven when the Hebrews were wandereding in the wilderness. Again, with an acute awareness of the wildernessthe unfavorable external conditions that disclose the inevitability of human sin and disobedienceChrist again kenotically descends to the level of humanity as manna. This corporeal insertion into humanitys dire affairs compels the sinner to purify himself of Egypt and the foreign life so that he empties the sack of his soul of all evil nourishment prepared by the Egyptians.89 And purification is followed by restoration: Neither ploughing nor sowing produced the body of this bread, but the earth which remained unchanged was found full of this divine food, of which the hungry partake. This miracle teaches in anticipation the mystery of the Virgin,90 who gives Christ her own corporeal humanness for the res-

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toration of humanity. In this passage, Gregory also identifies this manna as nourishment in his attempt to challenge those who believe that the manna is an incorporeal thing. If it were incorporeal, it could not be nourishment or restorative in the same way that Christs full humanity is restorative to human beings. Christs humanity, if left undefended, will lead to the rejection of Jesus restorative intentions and mission in favor of retributive juridical conceptions that do not adequately take into account the eschatological imputations of Christs humanity and the Theotokoss role in giving to the Logos this corporeality as the gift offered on behalf of all humanity and indeed for humanity. When the true Lawgiver became the stonecutter of his own flesh within the ark of the Theotokos, our nature regained its unbroken character, becoming immortal through the letters written by his finger.91 In a simultaneous theophanic image of the Trinity and revelation of the eschatological hope of humanity, Moses prefigured the transfiguration of Christ when he was transformed to such a degree of glory that the mortal eye could not behold him, thereupon restoring the broken tablets that the law was written on, which prefigures the restoration of the broken table of our nature to its original beauty.92 While the broken tablets fell from Moses hands to the ground and were broken by the impact, [they] were restored again by Moses. The tablets, however, were not wholly the same, since they restored grace inasmuch as God himself had impressed the words on the stone. This then shows the divine concern for us and sensitivity to the unpropitious circumstances that humanity must overcome.93 Consequently, for our sakes, who had lost our existence through our thoughtlessness (), [God] consented to be born like us so that [he] might bring that which had left reality back again to reality.94 God therefore subjected himself to the human condition by the mystery of incorporating corporeality with his own incomprehensi-


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ble divinity, which nullified any anticipation of retribution on account of humanitys careless disobedience by instead pitching his own tabernacle among us that we might be healed and have the image and likeness of God restored. Gregory insightfully outlines the role of the incarnate Christ to minister to the condition of those who had become ill when he enlists Moses, as a type of Christ, to co-suffer with humanity as one who even besought God for mercy on their behalf.95 While the revelation of humanitys ill-conceived priorities and indiscretions in the Old Testament is reflected in Gods presumed violent reaction to their apostasy, the full revelation of God is understood as residing instead in the person of Christ, of whom Moses is a type and who implores God to be merciful and compassionate on account of his identification with humanitys plight. In a brilliant maneuver where Moses is at once both the prefigured Christ who desires mercy and intercedes on behalf of humanity and is the humanity that has been transfigured and restored by this mercy, Gregory observes, [Moses] did not rush to defend himself against those who caused him sorrow; although they had been condemned by impartial judgment and he knew what was the naturally right thing to do, he nevertheless interceded with God for his brethren. He would not have done this if he had not been behind God, who had shown him his back as a safe guide to virtue.96 Therefore, Moses is a figure of both Christ (intercessor) and Christs followers (one who sees the back of God), for which the restoration of humanity by means of Christs mercy and compassion is a prerequisite.97 As Dunstone asserts, Humanity is thus pitiable, rather than culpable. There seems to be little sense of deliberate disobedience to the divine imperative and the resulting offence to the holy majesty of God. There is thus an ambiguity in Gregorys references to sin and evil, which must colour his doctrine about the extent of the effects of the Fall.98

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The Divine Response: Remedial Justice versus Juridical Retribution Such an emphasis on divine mercy should come as no surprise. De vita Moysis, as with Gregorys other writings, is replete with images of restoration, correction, purification, and healing. What goes largely unacknowledged, however, is the epistemological rationale that we thus far have been exploring and for which restoration is preferred over retribution. The inevitability of sin is also an admission of the ubiquity of sin, which is why Gregory famously teaches the final restoration of all humanity. Appropriately enough, Gregory discusses this eschatological hope in a section on the hardening of Pharaohs heart and, perhaps even more telling, in the only passage on gehenna in which also appears the sole use of the term apokatastasis in the entire treatise.99 Hope for the final restoration of all humanity accommodates images of purification and healing and is antithetical to juridical measures that generate the reverse outcome. Gregory describes purification as a means for accommodating guidance in virtue and a necessary step for permitting an excess of virtue to take evils place.100 Elsewhere, Gregory explains that purification is the obligation of the one who wishes to approach the holy mountain,101 and is a prerequisite for embarking on the apophatic ascent to the place where his intelligence lets him slip in where God is. This, Gregory continues, is called darkness by the Scripture, which signifies the unknown and unseen.102 The use of medical or remedial terminology is also very characteristic of Gregorys soteriological and, by extension, eschatological reflections. He designates both pleasure and passions as an illness or a disease103 and Christ, the lawgiver, as the physician [who] accommodated the remedy to what the evil had produced.104 More graphically, Gregory illustrates how the physician induces vomiting by his medicines.105 Remembering that


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Moses is a type of Christ, perhaps the most vivid use of medical language to describe Gods response to humanitys disobedience is in Gregorys discussion of the brazen serpent. The entire passage is worth quoting: As a physician by his treatment prevents a disease from prevailing, so Moses does not permit the disease to cause death. Their unruly desires produce serpents which inject deadly poison into those they bit. The great lawgiver, however, rendered the real serpents powerless by the image of a serpent. There is one antidote for these passions: the purification of our souls which takes place through the mystery of godliness. The chief act of faith in the mystery is to look to him who suffered the passion for us. The cross is the passion, so that whoever looks to it, as the text relates, is not harmed by the poison of desire. To look to the cross means to render ones whole life dead and crucified to the world, unmoved by evil.106 The use of medical terminology, both purifying and healing, leads to an inquiry into what exactly is the target for retribution, for the act of purification implies the elimination of something undesirable and the act of healing insinuates the recreation of that which God desires to persist and survive. Dunstone suggests that both Gregory and St. Paul are more concerned with the culpability of the disease and with the misfortune of those who suffer from it.107 It must be admitted, however, that Gregorys discussion of the nature and function of punishment is indeed quite complex, especially if presuppositions have not been adequately addressed. Notwithstanding this convolution, it is worth investigating to the extent that it allows further insight into Gregorys emphasis on divine mercy and eschatological hope. To this end, it is of significant advantage to evaluate the one instance Gregory uses the Greek word , which denotes vengeance particularly on behalf of anothers honor. Forms of this word appear in the New Testament only three times: twice to describe Pauls treatment of Christians before

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his conversion (Acts 22:5; 26:11) and once more in Hebrews 10:29 to describe what the worst apostates deserve. Gregory uses the word only once in De vita Moysisin the first book, which describes the literal, rather than allegorical and thus pedagogical, history of the life of Mosesto illustrate Moses reaction of breaking the tablets written with the law in response to the idolatry of the Hebrews. It is a fitting word considering that Moses is reacting this way specifically to restore Gods honor in the face of an idolatrous substitute, and is reasonably the only word Gregory could have used. Notwithstanding this sole example, Gregory provides much clarity in his allegorical rendering of this same episode,108 wherein he calibrates the literal interpretation much like the author of the epistle to the Hebrews clarifies the one instance in which he uses to describe what the worst apostates seemingly deserve by stating soon after that our discipline is for a short time and for our good, that we may share his holiness.109 Thus, in similar fashion, Gregory proclaims, it is fitting that one perceive the correction as administered through love for mankind. While not all are struck, the blows upon some chastise all to turn them from evil.110 Consequently, Gregory, following St. Paul in his second epistle to the Corinthians, calls the tablets of stone human hearts111 that Christ through his incarnation assists in regaining its unbroken character, becoming immortal through the letters written by his finger.112 Moreover, in the preceding section, Gregory cites the same passage from the epistle to the Hebrews that its authorSt. Paul, according to Gregoryuses to clarify and calibrate the one of three uses of the word in the New Testament, as mentioned above.113 Apart from this occasion, Gregory almost exclusively operates under the Greek term and its variants.114 While on its own delivers satisfaction for the inflictor or on behalf of anothers honor in the very act of vengeance


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itself, denotes a definite accent on correction for the ultimate benefit of the recipient, and etymologically suggests the act of pruning or restraining. In this way, performs the function of purification that characterizes Gregorys restorative emphasis. John Sachs concurs: [F]or Gregory, as for Origen, divine punishment is not punitive but pedagogical. God cleanses human nature and restores it to its natural goodness as an image of God, according to which it is naturally attracted to the infinite goodness of God and is capable of choosing and clinging to God. Finally purified in the eschatological flame and no longer impeded by the sin and mutability of earthly existence, human beings will persist in the good of Gods love eternally.115 Consequently, Gregorys understanding of punishment replaces humanity as a target for divine vengeance with evil instead as the intended victimthat is, the desire, pleasure, and passions whose vicinal qualities permit identification of the one in need of purification or . Therefore, Gregorys use of the term when describing divine punishment as purification and his extensive use of medical terminology befit the principle of vicinal culpability: to prune and purify is to separate the offender from the offense after the identification of the offender has been verified, and is therefore the only appropriate response within a vicinal paradigm that seeks to specify proximity to the offense. To illustrate the altruistic character of Gods punishment, von Balthasar observes, Sex and the passions, Gregory tells us, are a punishment inflicted by God for the sin arising from our freedom. On the other hand, he continues, it is undeniable that, in the perspective of real becoming, these passions, sexuality itself, are an undeniable favor bestowed on the spirit.116 This is the seemingly contradictory nature of noneschatological , whether sex, the passions, even freedom itself, that in order to be receptive to restoration, one must also be admitting of pain since this punishment,

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freedom or its apostatical corollariesthe passions that emerge as a result of this freedomis a reflection of God himself and indeed his refusal to intervene when pain makes itself felt.117 However, the passions, which leave humanity vulnerable to restoration, are a passive and temporal punishment that are operative in the initial earthly stages of movement toward the divine, while the eschatological encounter with the glory of God is an active with a distinct purifying operation, the passions themselves eventually also becoming a target for expunction. Accordingly, Gregory, under a profound recognition of the evident injustice in killing the first newborn of every Egyptian family, clarifies this ostensible contradiction by elucidating the true spiritual meaning, seeking to determine whether the events took place typologically. In doing so, Gregory concludes, When through virtue one comes to grips with any evil, he must completely destroy the first beginnings of evil.118 Evil is therefore the target, as in other places it is ones trespass,119 irrational envy,120 idolatry,121 injustice,122 arrogance,123 passion,124 and lust of the flesh,125 all these typologically suggesting the meaning behind conquering the Egyptians, Amalekites, Idumaeans, and Midianites.126 Indeed, sin is the real serpent, and whoever deserts to sin takes on the nature of the serpent,127 this ontological transformation thus requiring purification from her or his serpentness, or separation in proximity from the offending items.128 In the end, culpability is not a justification for action out for vengeance for its own sake and self-satisfaction but is instead, by virtue of its vicinal quality, a means of directing the purifying operation at and for the elimination of desire, pleasure, and passions, and this for the benefit of all humanity.129

The eschatological monism that is conspicuously present


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in Gregory of Nyssas De vita Moysis is seamlessly integrated into an anthropological and soteriological framework of free will, creaturely limitations, divine mercy, compassion, co-suffering, forbearance, love, and the restoration of the image and likeness of God. Gregorys apokatastasis demands an eschatological response of universal restoration and healing, Gods propitiation being realized when all things are subjected to him and when God may be everything to everyone,130 a matter for which Gregory devotes an entire treatise.131 But Gregory could envisage the restoration of all God had created because his understanding of human culpability was not hostile to mercys precedence over retribution. The inevitability of sin, of disobedience and sedition against God, renders suspect and inconsistent any principle or ideology that encourages divine retribution and does not adequately account for the ineluctability of human disobedience and the inexpediency of avenging that which cannot be avoided. Just as it would be imprudent to exact vengeance on someone suffering under an illness, the Great Physician effectuates healing, which at times includes the pain of purification but always entails, eventually, restoration and reconciliation with the triune God. By keeping in sight the summit of the holy mountain which lies ahead, Gregory spends the entirety of De vita Moysis underscoring the arduousness of the escape from slavery in Egypt, overcoming seemingly inviolable obstacles such as the Red Sea; the monotony, insecurity, and uncertainty of wandering in the wilderness; and the ascent of the holy mountain itself. In doing so, Gregory enlightens the recipient of his treatise by underscoring the empathy and solicitude that God learned when he himself kenotically descended to our burdensome and disadvantageous circumstances by taking on flesh and co-suffering with his creation, at that time pronouncing the hope of a life in Christ to all humanity.

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See, for instance, Andreas Andreopoulos, Eschatology and Final Restoration (apokatastasis) in Origen, Gregory of Nyssa and Maximos the Confessor, Theandros1, no.3 (Spring 2004): www.theandros.com/restoration.html; Georges Barrois, The Alleged Origenism of St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Vladimirs Theological Quarterly30, no.1 (1986): 716, esp. 1416; Brian Daley, Hope of the Early Church (New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1991), 8589; Jean Danilou, S.J., Lapocatastase chez Saint Grgoire de Nyssa, Recherches de Science Religieuse30 (1940): 32847; Morwenna Ludlow, Universal Salvation: Eschatology in the Thought of Gregory of Nyssa and Karl Rahner (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 2000); JohnR. Sachs, Apocatastasis in Patristic Theology, Theological Studies54, no.4 (December 1993): 61740, esp. 63238; MichaelJ. Tori, Apokatastasis in Gregory of Nyssa: From Origen to Orthodoxy, Patristic and Byzantine Review15, nos.13 (1997): 87100; and ConstantineN. Tsirpanlis, The Concept of Universal Salvation in Saint Gregory of Nyssa, in Greek Patristic Theology: Basic Doctrines in Eastern Church Fathers, vol.1 (New York: Eastern Orthodox Press, 1979), 4156. 2 Sachs, Apocatastasis in Patristic Theology, 633. 3 This refers to the fourteenth anathema against Origen (cf. NPNF2 14:318). This is a complicated issue, however, with scholarly opinions that vary too much to explore in this essay. Sergius Bulgakov observed, It has hitherto been thought that the doctrine of Origen was condemned at the fifth ecumenical council, but recent historical studies do not permit us to affirm this, later mentioning that the doctrines of Gregory of Nyssa have never been condemned and can be discussed in the very least as theologoumena, or theological opinions (Sergius Bulgakov, The Orthodox Church [Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimirs Seminary Press, 1988], 185). Brian Daley believes that what was anathematized at ConstantinopleII is actually an exaggerated misinterpretation of Origens eschatological hope, that it was a radicalized Evagrian Christology and cosmology, and a doctrine of apokatastasis that went far beyond the hopes of Origen or Gregory of Nyssa (Daley, Hope of the Early Church, 190). Elsewhere, Daley asserts that Gregory offers a cautious, undogmatic support of the Origenist position (84). Georges Barrois also defends an Orthodox interpretation where Origen perhaps goes too far, or at least speculates beyond what is possible to know with any certainty: The canons condemning the errors of Origen ought not to be read as contradicting a positive statement of Orthodox doctrine (Barrois, Al1


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leged Origenism of St. Gregory, 8). See also Henri Crouzel, Origen (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1989), 178; G.Mller, Origenes und die Apokatastasis, Theologische Zeitschrift14 (1958): 189; and Sachs, Apocatastasis in Patristic Theology, 639f. 4 All English references are to Everett Ferguson and AbrahamJ. Malhebre, trans., Gregory of Nyssa: The Life of Moses, Classics of Western Spirituality, vol.31 (New York: Paulist, 1978), hereafter Vit. Moys. All references to the original Greek will not be to the usual Gregorii Nysseni Opera, on which the English translation is based, but will instead be to the more accessible J-P. Migne, Patrologiae Graeca: S.Gregorius Nyssenus, vol.44 (Paris: Migne, 1863), hereafter PG. For the most part, I will simply use the divisions of Jean Danilous French translation Gregory of Nyssa: The Life of Moses, ed. Jean Danilou, Sources chrtiennes, vol.1 (Paris: ditions du Cerf, 1968), which were also adopted by CWS. 5 See AndrewP. Klager, Orthodox Eschatology and St. Gregory of Nyssas De vita Moysis: Transfiguration, Cosmic Unity, and Compassion, in Compassionate Eschatology: Apocalypse or New Beginning? (Eugene, Ore.: Wipf and Stock, 2011). 6 See Anthony Levi, Renaissance and Reformation: The Intellectual Genesis (New Haven, Conn.: Yale Univ. Press, 2002), 62; AlisterE. McGrath, Reformation Thought: An Introduction, 3rd ed. (Oxford: Blackwell, 1999), 8287; Walter L. Moore Jr., Protean Man: Did John Eck Contradict Himself at Leipzig? Harvard Theological Review72, nos.34 (July 1979): 246, 250f., 256f., 263; HeikoA. Oberman, Fourteenth-Century Religious Thought: A Premature Profile, Speculum53, no.1 (January 1978): 86, 88f. 7 Vit. Moys. 2.242: PG 405B. 8 See J.Warren Smith, Passion and Paradise: Human and Divine Emotion in the Thought of Gregory of Nyssa (New York: Herder and Herder, 2004), 62f., 6872, 2046. On or the suspension of passion, see Jean Danilou, S.J., Platonisme et theologie mystique: Doctrine spirituelle de Saint Gregorie de Nysse (Aubier: Editions Montaigne, 1944), 63ff., 92103. 9 Kallistos Ware, The Orthodox Way (Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimirs Seminary Press, 1995), 105f., 11119. 10 See Vladimir Lossky, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church (Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimirs Seminary Press, 1957), 6790. 11 RobertW. Jenson, Gregory of Nyssa, The Life of Moses, Theology Today62, no.4 (January 2006): 536. See also Ernest Vernon McClear, The Fall of Man and Original Sin in the Theology of Gregory of Nyssa, Theological Studies9, no.2 (1948): 186.

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GerhartB. Ladner, The Philosophical Anthropology of Saint Gregory of Nyssa, Dumbarton Oaks Papers12 (1958): 84. This notion is explicated most thoroughly in De natura hominis1, PG XL:521B524A. 13 Hans Urs von Balthasar, Presence and Thought: An Essay on the Religious Philosophy of Gregory of Nyssa (San Francisco: Ignatius, 1995), 37. 14 Barrois, Alleged Origenism of St. Gregory, 12. 15 The freedom of the will is a dominant motif in Gregorys De vita Moysis and occupies much of his thought on human culpability as well as his anthropology. See, for instance, Vit. Moys. 1.12; 2.3; 2.74: PG 301D; 328B; 348AB. 16 See, for instance, PaulM. Blowers, Maximus the Confessor, Gregory of Nyssa, and the Concept of Perpetual Progress, Vigiliae Christianae 46, no. 2 (1992): 156; Albert-Kees Geljon, Divine Infinity in Gregory of Nyssa and Philo of Alexandria, Vigiliae Christianae59, no.2 (2005): 162; Anthony Meredith, S.J., Gregory of Nyssa (New York: Routledge, 1999), 24. 17 Vit. Moys. 2.318: PG 429A. 18 See Michel Ren Barnes, Divine Unity and the Divided Self: Gregory of Nyssas Trinitarian Theology in Its Psychological Context, Modern Theology18, no.4 (October 2002): 481f.; DavidB. Hart, The Mirror and the Infinite: Gregory of Nyssa on the Vestigia Trinitatis, Modern Theology18, no.4 (October 2002): 549. 19 Vit. Moys. 2.45: PG 337D340A. Cf. SaraJ. Denning-Bolle, Gregory of Nyssa: The Soul in Mystical Flight, Greek Orthodox Theological Review34, no.2 (Summer 1989): 10811; Jenson, Gregory of Nyssa, Life of Moses, 536. 20 Vit. Moys. 2.46: PG 340A (emphases mine). Cf. Vit. Moys. 2.56; 2.65; 2.216: PG 341BC; 344CD; 397BC. 21 Vit. Moys. 2.75: PG 348B. Cf. C.W. Macleod, The Preface to Gregory of Nyssas Life of Moses, Journal of Theological Studies33, no.1 (April 1982): 187f. 22 Vit. Moys. 2.74: PG 348AB. 23 Vit. Moys. 2.80: PG 349AB. 24 Vit. Moys. 2.78: PG 348D. 25 Vit. Moys. 2.132: PG 365B. 26 Vit. Moys. 2.277: PG 416AB. 27 PatrickF. OConnell, The Double Journey in Saint Gregory of Nyssa: The Life of Moses, Greek Orthodox Theological Review28, no.4


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(Winter 1983): 309. 28 Cf. Vit. Moys. 2.2726: PG 413C416A. 29 Vit. Moys. 2.125: PG 361D364B. See also Vit. Moys. 2.22: PG 333A. 30 See Jean Danilou, S.J., Introduction, in From Glory to Glory: Texts from Gregory of Nyssas Mystical Writings, ed. and trans. Herbert Musurillo, S.J. (Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimirs Seminary Press, 2001), 58f. Cf. Vit. Moys. 2.187: PG 385C388A. For more on Gods grace and contribution to salvation, see 2.34; 2.44; 2.138; 2.215: PG 336C; 337CD; 368BC; 397AB. For more on synergism and human cooperation in salvation, see 2.118; 2.148; 2.17980; 2.241: PG 360D361A; 369D 372A; 384AC; 405AB. 31 Cf. Vit. Moys. 1.18; 2.6566; 2.7476; 2.80; 2.89; 2.24344: PG 305A; 344C345A; 348AC; 349AB; 352BC; 405BD. 32 Vit. Moys. 2.110111: PG 357BD. 33 See Sachs, Apocatastasis in Patristic Theology, 632. 34 Theoria is the perception or vision of the intellect through which one attains spiritual knowledge. The intellect, however, is not equated with the rational faculties or reason (dianoia) but is instead the highest faculty in man, through whichprovided it is purifiedhe knows God or the inner essences or principles of created things by means of direct apprehension or spiritual perception. Theoria, then, is the direct experience of God via the purity of ones soul and lifei.e., the purity of heart, which, far from being the mere physical organ, Gregory calls the foremost part of the soul (G.E.H. Palmer, et al., eds. and trans., The Philokalia, vol. 1 (London: Faber and Faber, 1979), 358f., 361f.; Vit. Moys. 2.215. Cf. Vit. Moys. 2.43; 2.48; 2.136; 2.150; 2.153; 2.154; 2.156; 2.162; 2.169; 2.178; 2.180; 2.181; 2.200; 2.208; 2.219. 35 From the Greek word apophatike, meaning away from speech (Deirdre Carabine, The Unknown God: Negative Theology in the Platonic Tradition; Plato to Eriugena (Louvain: Peeters, 1995), 2. See also RobertS. Brightman, Apophatic Theology and Divine Infinity in St. Gregory of Nyssa, Greek Orthodox Theological Review18 (1973): 97114, esp. 111. 36 Lewis Ayres, On Not Three People: The Fundamental Themes of Gregory of Nyssas Trinitarian Theology as Seen in To Ablabius: On Not Three Gods, in Re-Thinking Gregory of Nyssa, ed. Sarah Coakley (Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2003), 17. 37 Gregory maintains that the sequence of intellectual contemplation (theoria) includes the images and impressions of virtue, as it is shown to him by God, [which] are imprinted on the purity of the soul. Vit. Moys. 2.4748: PG 340AB. Cf. Vit. Moys. 2.157: PG 373D.

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38 39


Vit. Moys. 2.163: PG 376D377A. Vit. Moys. 2.164: PG 377AB. Cf. 2.16269; 2.176; 2.234: PG 376C; 381C; 404AB. 40 Vit. Moys. 1.5: PG 300CD. 41 Vit. Moys. 1.46: PG 317AB. Cf. 2.119. [T]he way that one is capable of receiving (PG 361AB). 42 Vit. Moys. 1.56: PG 320D321A. 43 Vit. Moys. 2.273: PG 413CD. 44 Denning-Bolle, Mystical Flight, 1089. 45 Vit. Moys. 2.47: PG 340AB. Cf. 2.152; 2.163; 2.169; 2.189; 2.234: PG 372CD; 376D377A; 380A; 388B; 404AB. 46 Vit. Moys. 2.154: PG 373BC. 47 Vit. Moys. 2.157: PG 373D. See also Martin Laird, By Faith Alone: A Technical Term in Gregory of Nyssa, Vigiliae Christianae54, no.1 (2000): 71. Lairds study, however, is less applicable to De vita Moysis. 48 Vit. Moys. 2.166: PG 377CD. 49 Vit. Moys. 1.30: PG 309C. 50 Vit. Moys. 2.17273: PG 380C381A. 51 Vit. Moys. 2.181: PG 384C. 52 Vit. Moys. 2.251: PG 408D. Cf. Jenson, Gregory of Nyssa, Life of Moses, 535. 53 Cf. Blowers, Perpetual Progress, 15171; Danilou, Platonisme et theologie mystique, 30926; Danilou, Introduction, 5169; Geljon, Divine Infinity in Gregory of Nyssa, 15277, esp. 162f.; Macleod, Preface to Gregory of Nyssas Life of Moses, 18890; Meredith, Gregory of Nyssa, 13f., 22; OConnell, Double Journey in Saint Gregory of Nyssa, 318f.; Smith, Passion and Paradise, 11f., 18f.; Balthasar, Presence and Thought, 37f. 54 Blowers, Perpetual Progress, 156. 55 See Geljon, Divine Infinity in Gregory of Nyssa, 162. 56 Vit. Moys. 1.6: PG 301A. Cf. 1.58; 2.220; 2.22426; 2.230; 2.235; 2.23839; 2.242: PG 300CD301B; 400AB; 400D401B; 401CD; 404B; 404C405A; 405B. 57 Geljon, Divine Infinity in Gregory of Nyssa, 162. 58 Vit. Moys. 2.277: PG 416AB. 59 Vit. Moys. 2.56. Cf. Everett Ferguson, Gods Infinity and Mans Mutability: Perpetual Progress according to Gregory of Nyssa, Greek Orthodox Theological Review18, nos.12 (Spring/Fall 1973): 71. 60 Vit. Moys. 2.14: PG 329D332A. Cf. 2.276: PG 416A. 61 Vit. Moys. 2.76: PG 348BC. Cf. 2.271: PG 413BC.

62 63

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Vit. Moys. 2.299: PG 424A. Vit. Moys. 2.63: PG 344BC. Cf. 2.122; 2.297; 2.301: PG 361C; 421D; 424BC. 64 Vit. Moys. 2.129: PG 364D. 65 Vit. Moys. 2.279: PG 416BC. 66 A.S. Dunstone, The Atonement in Gregory of Nyssa (London: Tyndale, 1964), 11. 67 Vit. Moys. 1.10; 2.1011; 2.5758; 2.81; 2.9192; 2.148; 2.260; 2.308. PG 301BC; 329B; 341CD; 349B; 352C353A; 369D372A; 412A; 425B. See AndrewP. Klager, Retaining and Reclaiming the Divine: Identification and the Recapitulation of Peace in St. Irenaeus of Lyons Atonement Narrative, in Stricken by God? Nonviolent Identification and the Victory of Christ, ed. Brad Jersak and Michael Hardin (Grand Rapids Mich.: Eerdmans, 2007), 427f. 68 Vit. Moys. 2.65 PG 344CD. Cf. 1.13; 1.20: PG 301D304A; 305CD. 69 Vit. Moys. 2.252: PG 408D409A. 70 Vit. Moys. 2.299: PG 424A. 71 Vit. Moys. 2.303 (emphases mine): PG 424C. Cf. 2.304; 2.318: PG 424D; 429A. 72 Vit. Moys. 2.304: PG 424D. 73 Vit. Moys. 2.2: PG 326AB. 74 Vit. Moys. 2.9: PG 329B. Cf. 2.57; 2.243: PG 341CD; 405BC. 75 Vit. Moys. 2.297: PG 421D. 76 Vit. Moys. 2.301; 2.303: PG 424BC; 424C. 77 Vit. Moys. 2.301: PG 424BC. 78 St. Silouan the Athonite, St. Silouan the Athonite, ed. Archimandrite Sophrony (Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimirs Seminary Press, 1991), 438. 79 Vit. Moys. 2.71: PG 345CD. Cf. 2.122: PG 361C. 80 Vit. Moys. 2.271: PG 413BC. 81 Vit. Moys. 2.75: PG 348B. 82 Cf. OConnell, Double Journey in Saint Gregory of Nyssa, 306f. 83 Vit. Moys. 2.20: PG 332CD. 84 Vit. Moys. 2.28: PG 333D336A. 85 Vit. Moys. 2.33: PG 336BC. 86 Vit. Moys. 2.30: PG 336A. 87 Vit. Moys. 2.32: PG 336B. Cf. 2.275: PG 413D416A. 88 Vit. Moys. 2.276: PG 416A. 89 Vit. Moys. 2.138: PG 368BC. 90 Vit. Moys. 2.139: PG 368C. 91 Vit. Moys. 2.216: PG 397BC. 92 Vit. Moys. 2.217: PG 397CD. 93 Vit. Moys. 2.214: PG 396D397A.

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94 95


Vit. Moys. 2.175: PG 381BC. Vit. Moys. 2.261: PG 412AB. 96 Vit. Moys. 2.263: PG 412BC. Cf. 2.251: PG 408D. 97 Cf. Vit. Moys. 1.48; 2.182: PG 317C; 384CD. 98 Dunstone, Atonement in Gregory of Nyssa, 10. 99 Vit. Moys. 2.82: PG 349BC. Cf. 2.58; 2.78; 2.193; 2.206; 2.26970: PG 341D; 348D; 389BC; 393CD; 413AB. 100 Vit. Moys. 2.2878: PG 417D420B. 101 Vit. Moys. 1.42: PG 316A. 102 Vit. Moys. 2.169: PG 380A. 103 Vit. Moys. 2.7071; 2.79; 2.303: PG 345BD; 348D349A; 424C. 104 Vit. Moys. 2.278: PG 416B. Cf. 2.87; 2.172: PG 352AB; 380CD. 105 Vit. Moys. 2.87: PG 352AB. Cf. 2.277: PG 416AB. 106 Vit. Moys. 2.2724: PG 413CD. 107 Dunstone, Atonement in Gregory of Nyssa, 16. 108 Vit. Moys. 2.20218: PG 392D397D. 109 Heb 12:10 RSV. 110 Vit. Moys. 2.206: PG 393CD. 111 Vit. Moys. 2.215: PG 397AB. 112 Vit. Moys. 2.216: PG 397BC. 113 Vit. Moys. 2.193: PG 389BC. 114 Vit. Moys. 1.25; 1.62; 2.91; 2.205; 2.308: PG 308C; 321C; 352CD; 393C; 425B. 115 Sachs, Apocatastasis in Patristic Theology, 637. 116 Balthasar, Presence and Thought, 78. 117 Cf. Smith, Passion and Paradise, 80; Meredith, Gregory of Nyssa, 21f. 118 Vit. Moys. 2.92: PG 352D353A. Cf. 2.93101: PG 353A356B. 119 Vit. Moys. 1.62: PG 321C. 120 Ibid. 121 Vit. Moys. 2.15: PG 332A. 122 Ibid. 123 Ibid. 124 Vit. Moys. 2.78: PG 348D. 125 Vit. Moys. 2.276: PG 416A. 126 Vit. Moys. 2.315: PG 428BC. 127 Vit. Moys. 2.275: PG 413D416A. 128 See Balthasar, Presence and Thought, 27. 129 Vit. Moys. 2.193; 2.206: PG 389BC; 393CD. 130 1Cor 15:28 RSV. 131 Gregory of Nyssa, When (the Father) Will Subject All Things to (the Son): A Treatise on 1Corinthians 15:28, trans. Brother Casimir, Greek Orthodox Theological Review28, no.1 (Spring 1983): 125.

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