Thursday, 7 February 2019
Georgiana Huian: The Human Being in the Theological Poetry of Gregory of Nazianzus
The theological poems of Gregory of Nazianzus are meant to bring together the desire for beauty emerging from contemplation (θεωρία) and the progress towards the good. They express the pedagogical intention to lead young people to more useful teachings, echoing the attitude towards Greek poetry in Plato’s Republic, Plutarch’s De audiendis poetis, and Basil’s Ad adulescentes. The paper investigates how the verses considered as a pleasant medicine (φάρμακον) depict the human condition in its present fragility, as well as in its journey to deification. It analyses metaphors attached to human vulnerability (e.g. swan, ant, ship, shadows, dream, dust, the movement in circle) in contrast with the motif of light reflecting the participation in the divine. Moreover, I investigate the notion of “image of God” imprinted in the human being, and I analyse how the divine image makes possible the ascent (return) from “misery” and “mortal condition” to resplendence, spiritualisation and incorruption.