Christological and Trinitarian
Chapter 6 examines Gregory’s doctrine of God as it developed in the context of the Eunomian controversy, focusing particularly on the way in which he resists the language of “activity” and “passivity” (and thus, by cultural association, male and female, respectively) from being applied to the Godhead. The full relevance of Gregory’s doctrine of God for the ascetic life is then discussed in depth. The author argues that for Gregory, the imitatio Dei summons the ascetic to a life beyond the fallen associations of male and female, because the persons of the Trinity cannot be described as either passive or active depending on their relationship to each other. Another area of originality in this study is chapter 6’s discussion of the male/female hierarchy in marriage, which Gregory appears to support on the basis of biblical authority. This insight stands in contradistinction to recent feminist readings of his work, which overlook these passages and privilege particular themes in Gregory’s mature thought, especially in relation to the soul’s labile identifications with male and female characteristics.
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