The Cappadocians: Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa

Authored by: Anthony Meredith

Ancient Philosophy of Religion

Print publication date:  July  2013
Online publication date:  September  2014

Print ISBN: 9781844652204
eBook ISBN: 9781315729633
Adobe ISBN: 9781317546511


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Prior to the advent of the Cappadocian Fathers – Basil of Caesarea (cf Nazianzus (329–89), and Basil’s brother Gregory of Nyssa (c.335–c.395) – Cappadocia, to the north-east of modern Turkey, seems to have been something of a cultural backwater. Hence comes the epigram, ‘It is as hard to teach turtles to fly as to teach Cappadocians to write good Greek’. The three Fathers came from very respectable and prosperous families, and at any rate two of them received a good classical education in the university of Athens for about five years. An elaborate account of their life is provided by Gregory of Nazianzus’ Oration 43, a panegyric of his friend and younger contemporary, Basil.

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