Thursday, December 05, 2019

Book Note: Gregory of Nyssa on The Life of Moses: Part 3 of 4

More from Gregory of Nyssa's allegorical interpretation in The Life of Moses:

On the tables of stone, Gregory asserts that “the spiritual sense agrees with the literal account” (100). On the restoration of the broken tables, he asserts that God is “the restorer of our broken nature” who has “restored the broken table of our nature to its original beauty” (100).

On God’s meeting Moses face to face, he observes, “If these things are looked at literally, not only will the understanding of those who seek God be dim, but their concept of him will also be inappropriate” (101).

Gregory’s Neoplatonism is seen throughout.

The “ardent lover of beauty” longs “to be filled with the very stamp of the archetype” (104). He longs “to enjoy the Beauty not in mirrors and reflections, but face-to-face” (104).

“True being is true life” (105).

“This truly is the vision of God: never to be satisfied in the desire to see him” (106).

The ascent to God “is both a standing still and a moving”; it “takes place by means of standing. I mean by this that the firmer and more immovable one remains in the Good, the more he progresses in the course of virtue” (107-108).

“He who finds any good finds it in Christ, who contains all good” (109).

In discussing the envy of men against Moses, Gregory observes: “Envy is the passion which causes evil, the father of death, the first entrance of sin, the root of wickedness, the birth of sorrow, the mother of misfortune, the basis of disobedience, the beginning of shame” (111).

He adds: “Envy is the death-dealing sting, the hidden weapon, the sickness of nature, the bitter poison, the self-willed emaciation, the bitter dart, the nail of the soul, the fire in the heart, the flame burning on the inside” (111-112).

“Envy is grieved at the good deeds of men and takes advantage of their misfortunes” (112).

When envied, Moses “did not rush to defend himself against those who caused him sorrow” (113).

To be continued….

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