By Jaroslav Pelikan
Presents an account of the lives and writings of the Cappadocians, exhibiting how they controlled to be Greek and Christian even as. Pelikan concentrates on 4 Cappadocians: Gregory of Nazianzus, Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa and Macrina, sister and instructor of the final .
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Extra resources for Christianity and Classical Culture: The Metamorphosis of Natural Theology in the Christian Encounter with Hellenism
Nyss. Macr. 39 Ps 10:4; Rv 3:12 It is clear that the thought of the Cappadocians was by no means uniform in its treatment of the various aspects of Classical Greek culture. For although it is probably fair to say that some ambivalence characterized their attitude toward the whole of Classical culture, the ambivalence ranged across a wide spectrum, as they themselves acknowledged, from their positive view of the Greek tongue to their condemnation of other aspects of the Hellenic tradition. The opposite end of the spectrum from the Greek tongue was occupied by Greek religion, toward which their language was consistently harsh and their assessment uniformly negative.
Nyss. Eun. Nyss. Eun. 27 (Jaeger 2:117) : ' *$ tolography and rhetoric; but it was also a tribute, though with more than a slight edge, to the shared linguistic and stylistic tastes of the two men despite their metaphysical and theological differences. Sometimes Basil could exhibit his Classical learning and stylistic sensitivity to good advantage, as when he commented on two treatises by a Christian colleague, Diodorus, presbyter of Antioch, one of the treatises being pithy in language but the other quite elaborately wrought: "I know that your intelligence is perfectly aware that the heathen philosophers who wrote dialogues, Aristotle and Theophrastus, went straight to the point, because they were aware of their not being gifted with the graces of Plato.
As has been observed, "He does use a type of natural theology, but only on an ad hoc basis. " Yet of the four Cappadocians, it was, as might have been expected, Gregory of Nyssa who—more than Basil, Gregory of Nazianzus, or Macrina—repeatedly made explicit the congruence between natural theology as apologetics and natural theology as presupposition, arguing that in a proper statement of orthodox doctrine—in this case the doctrine of the Trinity— there would be a harmony with the presupposed truths to which a rational theology could also attain: "If someone keeps steadfast to the sound doctrine, and believes that the Son is of the nature that is divine without admixture, everything will be seen to be in harmony with the rest of the truths of religion, namely, that the Lord is the Maker of all things, and is king of the universe, not set above it by an arbitrary act of capricious power, but ruling by virtue of a superior nature," all of these latter "truths of religion" being truths of Christian revelation, but also in some sense first principles of rational, natural theology.