• Salvage: Macrina and the Christian Project of Cultural Reclamation

    Author(s):
    Ellen Muehlberger (see profile)
    Date:
    2012
    Group(s):
    Feminist Humanities, Late Antiquity
    Subject(s):
    History, Ancient
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Gregory of Nyssa, Ancient history, Religious studies
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6862F
    Abstract:
    While many have seen the equation between Macrina and Socrates drawn in the Treatise on the Soul and the Resurrection as Gregory of Nyssa’s attempt to honor his sister, a closer look at Gregory’s attitude about the relative power of Christianity at the end of the fourth century suggests the opposite: that the character of Macrina lends validity to Socrates and, by extension, to non-Christian intellectual traditions. In this article, I argue that the Treatise is part of a larger project of cultural reclamation enacted by some Christians near the end of the fourth century. The educational reforms of the emperor Julian had instituted a public discourse of evaluation by which one’s reading material indicated one’s religious identity; after Julian, some Christians adopted this idea, yet in reverse, arguing that reading traditional literature was out of the question for Christians, as it would signal a non-Christian religious commitment. Gregory’s Treatise on the Soul and the Resurrection was an effort to walk back the effects of that discourse, and to return Christian pedagogy, philosophy, and cultural evaluation to a stance of ambivalence regarding Greek literature.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    6 years ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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