Sunday, 10 February 2019
Kyriakoula Tzortzopoulou: The emotion of envy in the works of Gregory of Nyssa
The aim of this paper is to offer an analysis of the ways in which the emotion of envy is conceptualized by Gregory of Nyssa. The specific emotion has not been yet subjected to deep examination by scholars, despite the fact that Gregory’s ideas about emotions have gained the attention of researchers and have been the subject of several studies. However, a study on envy itself seems to be especially important, since Gregory deems envy as the worst emotion compared to others that have negative impact on a Christian’s morality (PG 44.1287-1288). In this presentation, I will show how envy is conceptualized by Gregory through the lens of the Christian anthropology and how he harnesses the classical emotional knowledge to conceptualize envy in a Christian context guided by his classical education. On the evidence of his works, it will be claimed that he reiterates a great number of commonplace ideas about envy that are developed in the philosophical texts of Greek authors, and a wide range of beliefs that pervade the scriptural texts and are essential part of the Christian cognitive model about emotions. Last but not least, I will explore through key passages the contributing role of metaphors in the conceptualization of envy, building on modern scholarship’s views about the significant role of metaphor in the formation of emotion concepts.