Susan R. Holman

in The Hungry are Dying

Published in print August 2001 | ISBN: 9780195139129
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834310 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Historical Theology


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This chapter concludes that the Cappadocian texts on poverty view the poor, and construct an image of the poor they view, within that constantly dynamic space between civic identity and social obligations (“the courtyard”) and the numenal stillpoint, identity, and identification with, the divine (“the altar”) in late antiquity. It brings together the themes of previous chapters by exploring Gregory of Nazianzus's sermon “On his Father's Silence,” preached to an angry mob threatening violence after hail destroyed the harvest. In summarizing the book, this chapter concludes that, although the Cappadocian texts on poverty do not necessarily represent all Christian voices of their age, they do represent a vital piece in the history of poverty relief and the Christianization of Graeco‐Roman culture. Finally, Basil and the Gregories were pivotal authors in establishing Nicene theology and Christology as Christian “orthodoxy”, and their views of the poor body as divine and incarnate provide a provocative example of this relationship of theology to social ethics.

Keywords: Basil of Caesarea; Christianization; Christology; civic identity; Gregory of Nazianzus; Nicene; poverty; social ethics; theology

Chapter.  8558 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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