Thursday, 5 February 2015

Anna Usacheva: Compositional strategy of Gregorius Nazianzenus' five theological speeches

All the present editions (listed in the refer.) of the theological orations preserve the following order of the 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 speeches. This direct order leaves us nothing but a perfunctory consideration of the orations that follows their individual themes and shows us only the dogmatic (not methodological) disputation with Eunomius. This approach produces many questions: why is the second oration (28) devoted to theology in general? The vivid and expressive, almost theatrical style of or. 27 and 28 differs greatly from the style of the logical and plain style of or. 29, 30, 31. The direct order does not allow us to realize the methodological message of Gregory, therefore it provides no explanation to these features as well as to the vivid platonic background of or. 27, 28 unlike or. 29, 30, 31, which contain only few citations from Corpus Platonicum and base mainly on the Bible. As the manuscript data is not certain about the place of or. 28 in the sequence of the speeches, Norris and Sieben stated that the direct order is not indisputable. Unfortunately, these discussions only concerned the order of the speeches, not the idea that they are one coherent rhetorical composition. Indeed, if we speak about the individual speeches it does not matter which we read first, but if we consider the oration as one coherent composition it is significant that the conclusion should be at the end and not after the introduction.

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