St. Gregory of Nazianzus was Archbishop of Constantinople in the 4th century AD. As with most figures of the church during this time, much of Gregory’s writings are in reaction to the heresy of Arianism which was dividing most of the church at this time. However, the benefit of the controversy led Gregory and his peers to precisely formulate the Christian understanding of God and the relationship of the Persons of the Trinity.
Taken from what is known as his Five Theological Orations, these Two Discourses on the Son of God are written as a response to Arian claims about Christ. The first of these two orations provide not only precise terminology but also exact definitions for the nature of God and the relationship of the Son to the Father. Using logic and reason, St. Gregory argues against Arian claims from a purely philosophical standpoint. In the second of the two orations, however, he turns his attention to the Scripture references that the Arians have used to bolster their claims. No doubt, even now some of Gregory’s arguments are appropriate for dialogue with those who hold similar theological beliefs of the Arians in today’s religious climate.
The last two sections (designated Orat. 30:20-21) are especially delightful. Here, St. Gregory runs through a common list of names, titles, and designations for Christ with an explanation of each one. Despite the non-poetic layout of the text, it reads (to me anyway) very much like poetry.
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Discourses on the Son of God in Accordance comes with three modules. The Greek text has full morphological tagging. It can be run in parallel with an English translation by Charles Gordon Browne and James Edward Swallow from the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series II, Volume VI. A third Notes module containing cross-references may be run in parallel as well.
Discourses on the Son of God by Gregory of Nazianzus
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