Gregory of Nyssa

Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.
Related to Gregory of Nyssa: Gregory of Nazianzus
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Gregory of Nyssa


Born around 335 in Caesarea; died 394, in Nyssa. Church writer, theologian, and philosopher. One of the most prominent Greek patristic figures.

Gregory of Nyssa was the brother of Basil the Great and a friend of Gregory of Nazianzus, and with them he formed the so-called Cappadocian circle of church figures and thinkers. As a youth he studied rhetoric and philosophy before entering a monastery. He became bishop of the town of Nyssa in Asia Minor in 371, and he was a participant in the Second Ecumenical Council of 381. Gregory of Nyssa’s philosophical outlook took shape under the decisive influence of Plato and Christian Platonism as represented by Origen. This influence and his penchant for philosophical speculation often led him to adopt an unorthodox position. (Thus, like Origen and in opposition to church doctrine, he taught the concepts of the temporary nature of the torments of hell and the eventual enlightenment of all sinners, including Satan.) Gregory of Nyssa put forth the thesis of the necessity of delimiting the spheres of philosophy and theology. Like Origen, he made extensive use of free allegorical interpretations of the Bible.

Gregory of Nyssa’s anthropology was distinguished by its great originality. Its basis is not the idea of the individual but the idea of humanity as an organic whole—a kind of collective personality, whose essence is its intellect. Gregory exerted a powerful influence on the author John Scotus Erigena. as well as on Maximus the Confessor.


Opera, vols. 1–2. Berlin, 1921.
Opera, vols. 1–8. Leiden, 1958–64.


Nesmelov. V. I. Dogmaticheskaia sistema Grigoriia Nisskogo. Kazan, 1887.
Danielou, I. Platonisme et théologie mystique. Paris. 1954.
Völker, W. Gregor von Nyssa als Mvstiker. Wiesbaden. 1955.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
(16) He tratado esta cuestion en un reciente trabajo presentado en Oxford y todavia sin publicar que lleva por titulo: Anointing and kingdom: Some aspects of Gregory of Nyssa's pneumatology.
A noteworthy example is Gregory of Nyssa's treatise On the Hexaemeron, which has not yet been translated into English (133-36).
Gregory of Nyssa and the Tradition of the Fathers (1995);
(Oxford: Claredon Press, 2000); and Lucian Turcescu, "Blessed Are the Peacemakers, for They Will Be Called Sons of God': Does Gregory of Nyssa Have a Theology of Adoption?" in Hubertus R.
These include reflection on the beauty of nous in Plotinus and the philosophical sources for claims about divine beauty in Gregory of Nyssa and Symeon the New Theologian.
This volume collects readings by Christian thinkers from the early church through the Middle Ages up to the beginning of the 16th century, such as Francis of Assisi, Thomas Aquinas, Hildegard of Bingen, Ignatius of Antioch, Irenaeus, and Gregory of Nyssa. Sections are organized in sections: Gnosticism and its opponents; the Apologists, the School of Alexandria, and Tertullian; the Trinitarian and Christological controversies; Eastern theology after Chalcedon; Augustine; and the early, high, and late Middle Ages.
Four other essays fill out the volume, discussing argumentation in De Sacrificiis, Philo's references to Dionysus, his influence on Gregory of Nyssa, and a fascinating essay on Hegel's extensive use of Philo's writings.
As Theotokos, Mary has become the mother of life, a title given her by St Gregory of Nyssa in On the Song of Songs.
Scholars have long recognized that the theological arguments of Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Gregory of Nyssa against their opponent Eunomius helped to shape the development of Christian orthodoxy, and thus Christian self-definition, in the late fourth-century Roman Empire.
For Gregory of Nyssa, the divine names signify operations (energeiai).
translates the largely allegorical comments by Origen, Gregory the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, Ambrose, Augustine, etc., and arranges them as verse-by-verse comments on the biblical text.
In the consideration of "Transformation in God," the McGinns certainly could not pass over Gregory of Nyssa and his doctrine of epektasis or "straining ahead." (Whenever the McGinns use such technical terminology, it is well explained; footnotes are neither.