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Body and DesireGregory of Nyssa's Ascetical Theology$
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Raphael A. Cadenhead

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780520297968

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520297968.001.0001

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Gregory’s Emerging Theory of Desire

Gregory’s Emerging Theory of Desire

(p.62) 3 Gregory’s Emerging Theory of Desire
Body and Desire

Raphael A. Cadenhead

University of California Press

Having already established that erōs, for Gregory, needs to be redirected from material beauties to the true prototypical beauty of God, chapter 3 provides a more detailed analysis of key concepts in Gregory’s theory of desire: passion, moderation, the criterion of “need” in the ascetic life, and the disjunction between satiety and fulfillment. The aim of the chapter is to provide answers to two basic questions: What does the fundamental reorientation of erotic desire toward God mean for other (ostensibly nonsexual) desires? And how do we assess whether a bodily desire is legitimate or whether, on the contrary, it is excessive and thus to be avoided at all costs? The chapter ends with a brief discussion of the moral evocations of “male” and “female” characteristics.

Keywords:   desire, passions, moderation, satiety, satiation, gender

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