In order to counter some of the anachronisms in recent scholarship on Gregory (as outlined in the introduction), the prelude attends to Gregory’s historical context by situating his thinking within the late antique milieu. It begins with an overview of the ecclesio-political context in the aftermath of Constantine’s conversion and considers how the incorporation of the church into imperial life may have inflected Gregory’s ascetic theory. The prelude also explores the burgeoning monastic movement in the late fourth century as well as the ascetical prestige of Gregory’s family.
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