Divine providence and free will in Gregory of Nyssa and his theological milieu

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Abstract

The Greek fathers of the fourth and fifth centuries developed a rich tradition of Christian teaching on the subject of divine providence. Gregory of Nyssa in particular made a major contribution to later Byzantine thought on questions of providence in his works. I examine Gregory's discussion of this theme together with those of fate, the origin of evil, human free will, and the role of their interplay in determining individual human destinies. Gregory's contribution is contrasted with that of three Fathers from a similar period - Sarapion of Thmuis, Leo the Great, and Theodoret of Cyrrhus. A close connection between the thinking of Sarapion and Gregory of Nyssa, both strongly influenced by Origen, will be demonstrated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-51
Number of pages17
JournalPhronema
Volume27
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

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