New Book on St. Gregory of Nazianzus

September 28, 2013

In his Summa Theologiae, St. Thomas Aquinas repeats a statement from St. Jerome about St. Gregory of Nazianzus: “his authority in Christian doctrine is so great, that no one would dare attack his words” (STh I, q. 61, a. 3). Christians since the Council of Chalcedon (451) have called him “the Theologian,” a title reserved to him and St. John the Evangelist in the Greek tradition. However, few of those working in theology in the late-twentieth century accorded this fourth-century Greek Father of the Church the honor that both East and West long paid him. Fr. Andrew Hofer, O.P., has just authored the first book in any language providing a complete overview of Gregory of Nazianzus’ Christology. Entitled Christ in the Life and Teaching of Gregory of Nazianzus, this book appears in the Oxford Early Christian Studies series, published by Oxford University Press. Father Andrew examines the breadth of Gregory’s corpus—orations, letters, and even the poems often neglected in doctrinal studies—to argue that Gregory’s writing on Christ can be best understood in tandem with his autobiography. The book demonstrates that Gregory’s teaching on Christ involves reflection on his own life, which in his telling bears the marks of his Savior. This insight assists in the work of interpreting Gregory’s Christology, which was used by all the Christian Churches in Christological disputes from the fifth through the seventh centuries. The book has ramifications for doctrinal, spiritual, and ecumenical reflection on Jesus Christ today. Father Andrew is the Master of Students in the Dominican Province of St. Joseph and teaches in the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. His research appears in several journals, including Augustinianum, International Journal of Systematic Theology, The Thomist, Pro Ecclesia, Nova et Vetera, Angelicum, Communio, and New Blackfriars. He earned his doctorate in theology in 2010 at the University of Notre Dame, where he worked under Fr. Brian E. Daley, S.J., a leading historical theologian of the Early Church and 2012 recipient of the Ratzinger Prize in Theology from Pope Benedict XVI. For ordering Christ in the Life and Teaching of Gregory of Nazianzus, see this link at Oxford University Press, or order through Amazon or another provider.

Image: Aidan Hart, Gregory the Theologian

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