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On God and Christ: The Five Theological Orations and Two Letters to Cledonius (St. Vladimir's Seminary Press: Popular Patristics) Paperback – December, 2002


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Product Details

  • Series: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press: Popular Patristics
  • Paperback: 175 pages
  • Publisher: St Vladimirs Seminary Pr (December 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881412406
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881412406
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,945 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

The poetry in the first oration is very nice.
ZF
He is very quick to affirm the co-eternality of the Son and Holy Spirit with the Father.
Jacob
Worth a read if you are looking for this topic!
Trae

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 51 people found the following review helpful By benjamin on October 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book was a difficult read. As these orations were, most likely, sermons, I was expecting them to be far easier to understand than they were; I was expecting some sort of catechetical-like introduction to the Trinity. What I got was, in fact, far more difficult but no less profound; this is also a highly profitable read.

Nazianzus lived during a period of great theological controversy and turmoil. Although Christianity was now the official religion of the empire, it was by no means clear what the official doctrine/s of Christ and God were. There were many schools of thought on point, many of which tended in similar directions. Yet, the finer points of Incarnation and Trinity were much debated, particularly the relationship of God the Father to God the Son and, interestingly, this was not merely a matter for cloistered scholars: it was something that everyone had an opinion about and if Christianity was going to be the glue that held people together, it was going to have to figure out just what the Trinity (and by extension, the Incarnation) meant.

The Theological Orations are Gregory's attempt at working out what exactly the Trinity means. So, these works are at points highly polemical against "heretics" (whomever they were); there is no room for even an iota of untrue (or half true) doctrine. Several of the Orations are set up as Q & A sessions in which Gregory refutes certain theological positions that he sees as relegating Christ to a position below the Father and, therefore, destroying the Trinity.

Gregory makes a number of key points, the first of which is that theology is not for everyone (!
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Jacob on May 28, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Claims of Knowledge
St Gregory's opponents, the Eunomians, reduced God to a set of deductive proofs. Unlike the earlier Gnostics and Arians, their problem was not that God was unknowable, but that he can easily be reduced to what the mind can affirm or negate.

On the Son
Gregory defines monotheism as "single rule produced by equality of nature, harmony of will, identity of action, and the convergence towards their source of what springs from unity--none of which is possible in the case of created nature" (29:2). This allows "numerical distinction without division in substance. In this way a One eternally changes to a Two and stops at a Three."

St Gregory makes an important point in saying that the Son and Holy Spirit are from God but not after him. They have a cause, and thus are not unoriginate, but it is not a temporal cause. He is very quick to affirm the co-eternality of the Son and Holy Spirit with the Father.

Gregory's Vocabulary
Like St Athanasius, St Gregory operates around a series of terms, which determine the debate. They are "Ingenerate, The Begotten, and `what proceeds from the Father'" (28:2). Gregory is careful to affirm that Ingeneracy is not God's substance (29:12). This is a necessary point because the Son is not ingenerate (since he is begotten), but the Son is of the same substance as the Father.

The term "Father" designates neither the activity nor the substance, but the relationship which holds good between the Father and the Son (29:16). This rebuts the dilemma posed: if we say that Father designates the "substance," then we admit the Son is of a different substance than the Father. If we say "activity," then we admit the Son is a creation of the Father.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By ZF on January 23, 2013
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This was my first venture of reading the church fathers. This book was a great choice. Theologically deep, philosophically relevent for today, and I like the fact they didn't pull any punches when it came to being 'politically correct'--I laughed out loud a few times. The poetry in the first oration is very nice.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By busyinbville on December 14, 2012
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This book is a great translation of St. Gregory with very little editorial notes to get in the way. A very pure rendering.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jason Frazier on July 1, 2013
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Unless you are a theologian, there's really no reason to read this book. It is extremely dense with theological statements and logical arguments. It was not written in English, but the translator did a good job piecing together what the author meant to say. It's not a bad book, but I wouldn't put it on my top million books to read before you die.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robert S. on November 14, 2014
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awesome
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On God and Christ: The Five Theological Orations and Two Letters to Cledonius (St. Vladimir's Seminary Press: Popular Patristics)
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